It is not unusual to hear someone complaining about a hot day or a freak storm and remark, "It's global warming. Well, is it? In this article, we'll learn what global warming is, what causes it, what its current effects are and what the future effects could be.
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Although there has been a scientific consensus on global warming, some aren't sure it's something we need to worry about. We must also ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, mandating the phasing out of hydrofluorocarbons HFCs — commonly used as refrigerants — which evaporate as a greenhouse gas times more potent than CO2. Enforcing Kigali in the United States will likely require securing executive jurisdiction over HFCs by passing a law to give the EPA full authority to regulate all substances that contribute to global warming, as it already has authority to regulate substances that contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer.
The hard truths of climate change — by the numbers
And of course we need to install new leadership at the EPA that centers science in all of its decision-making and operates in the interests of the American people, not fossil fuel companies and other corporate powers. Most critically, we need to break our addiction to fossil fuels as soon as possible. But in the meantime we must act quickly to disincentivize businesses from emitting carbon dioxide through the imposition of a fee on carbon polluters.
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However, unlike the authors of that bill, I believe we should reserve a portion of the dividends for investments into renewable energy research and development. In particular, we should be looking for cost-efficient ways to scale up available technology to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere including even by removing it, re-utilizing it, and removing it again in a continuous cycle.
I also believe we should be investing in the potential of nuclear technology based on thorium, which would end the use of plutonium and could lead to much safer nuclear power plants, less toxic nuclear waste, and less opportunities for nuclear weapons proliferation. Nuclear power can continue to help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, but in the wake of the Fukushima disaster we must do everything we can to make it safer.
In order to reach net zero emissions by , we must leverage every possible resource we can toward technological innovation. We must also recognize that a huge percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture and land use. Modern agriculture, which our country has exported around the world over recent decades, is a huge driver of climate change, especially through annual tillage, deforestation, and livestock management practices.
Causes and consequences of climate change
Tilling a field every year releases trapped carbon into the atmosphere and reduces the ability of soil microorganisms to capture carbon in the future while also causing erosion and the loss of topsoil ; deforestation — which is particularly problematic in biodiverse and ecologically sensitive areas like the Amazon basin and Southeast Asia — releases carbon into the atmosphere when it occurs, and often leads to even further greenhouse gas emissions when it is followed by industrial crop farming or large-scale animal grazing; and livestock like cows are also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, but these can be reduced through sustainable practices like rotational grazing on well-managed pasture land and through the addition to livestock diets of underutilized crops — like sainfoin, which actually reduces the methane emissions of cows that eat it, even when only a small percentage of their diet.
In other words, we could start reducing excess carbon from the atmosphere through better farming practices.
In order to make this a reality we must stop subsidizing emissions-heavy industrial farming — which generally only benefits large corporations and wealthy landowners — and start heavily subsidizing organic and regenerative farming, which would most benefit small family farmers, but would also benefit all of us by cleaning up our water, air, and food supply. Farms big and small must be given the tools and support they need to transition to more sustainable practices. If we incentivize enough farmers to make the switch — and if we devote substantially more resources to research into perennial staple crops, agroecological farming, and soil science — we can make agriculture a potent weapon against climate change, instead of just another driver of it.
Climate change is such a complex problem that we must pursue every possible solution. I believe we need to invest more in mass transit, increase fuel efficiency standards, improve access to electric cars including by offering cash rebates in lieu of electric car tax credits so lower-income Americans can participate , reduce food waste, increase recycling, and incentivize consumers and corporations to repair electronic devices, like smart phones, rather than simply replacing them.
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Montana was hit with record-breaking early snowfall, reaching 40 inches in some places over the weekend. Scientists in the U. After hurricanes, mortgage lenders offload more of their vulnerable loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose rules prevent them from saying no. Three philanthropists started the Climate Emergency Fund earlier this year, grants from which help climate change protestors spread their message. Please upgrade your browser. Site Navigation Site Mobile Navigation. The Catch?
What is climate change and how does it affect us?
Those countries accounted for only 11 percent of global emissions in Climate Change Is Complex. Featured Properties. Latest Search Search. Clear this text input. By Sandra E.