A report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that if the world does not meet a level of zero-emissions by the year 2100 humanity could be in trouble. At this moment 80 percent of all emissions comes from burning fossil fuels, which are melting the Arctic and acidifying the oceans. Scientists say that in order to give humanity a better shot at surviving the effects of global warming the world will have to fight to cut emissions down 40 to 70 percent and to triple low-carbon power sources like nuclear, solar, and converting kinetic energy like wind and water.
Right now, carbon dioxide is the most prominent greenhouse gas in our atmosphere. Though plants use carbon dioxide to convert into oxygen, too much in the atmosphere can cause gradual warming. Two suggestions scientists have to counter this problem is afforestation – the planting of trees to absorb carbon dioxide—and the carbon-capture and storage method which captures waste carbon dioxide from fossil fuel plants and stores it under ground.
If the influx of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere cannot be curbed, scientists fear that temperature increases could go beyond 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit and the Earth could face drastic climate changes. Places that would be affected the most would be the drier areas of the world that already face extremely warm seasons.
Experts believe that the only way to stop global warming is to have a long-term plan that involves the entire global community. China and the United States produce the most emissions of the entire world. China accounts for over a quarter of carbon emissions. The first step in fighting the turn of carbon emissions and global warming, which has exponentially grown in the last 20 years, is for more powerful countries to work together as a world community and cooperate with different resources to accomplish a common goal of survival.
If reducing emissions is the first task, stopping deforestation is the next, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Tropical deforestation accounts for about 10 percent of emissions trapped in the atmosphere. Less trees means less oxygen and more carbon dioxide.
In recent years many climate conscious corporations and institutions have been doing their part to lower emission rates and help curb the growing trend of global warming. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, or LEED, is a third-party certification program that rates buildings based on their energy sustainability design and construction according to standards set by the US Green Building Council. Many universities and government buildings are setting standards requiring new construction to fit into the LEED guidelines, even going as far as retrofitting older facilities with more efficient technology.
LEED advancement into a building’s environmentally friendly operation utilizes things such as chilled beam technology that pumps fresh air around a pipe running with chilled water, requiring less maintenance and using less energy than traditional air conditioning. Renewable and reclaimed resources are used whenever possible, implementing the surrounding environment and literally bringing it into the building.
There are many things that can reportedly be done to fight the effects of global warming, but scientists urge the global community to come together and act if humanity is to have a chance to survive and prosper.
By Cody Long