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Global Warming / Climate Change: What we can do about it

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Climate Change is the most serious problem we face in the 21st century. Future generations are depending on us to do whatever we can to turn things around.

By Greg Seaman Posted Mar 3, 2009

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a group of over two thousand scientists, has concluded that global warming is beyond dispute, and already changing our climate. The last 30 years have seen the warmest surface temperatures in recorded history, and the past several years have been among the warmest on record.

Scientists have concluded that human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, is the major driving factor in global warming. Read: how global warming has developed.

Global warming can be slowed, and stopped, with practical actions that yield a cleaner, healthier atmosphere. The question is: will we act soon enough?

“Many people don’t realize that we are committed right now to a significant amount of global warming and sea level rise…the longer we wait to do something about it, the more change we will have.”

Gerald Meehl, The National Center for Atmospheric Research

Ultimately it is up to each of us, as individuals and families, to take action to slow down and eventually reverse global warming through everyday awareness of our energy use, and attention to ways we can conserve electricity and minimize fossil fuel usage.

What we can do

The goal is to bring global warming under control by curtailing the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping “greenhouse” gases into the atmosphere.

We can contribute to this global cause with personal actions. Our individual efforts are especially significant in countries like the US and Canada, where individuals release over 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per person every year.

We can help immediately by becoming more energy efficient. Reducing our use of oil, gasoline and coal also sets an example for others to follow.

Reduce electricity usage around the home

The largest source of greenhouse gases is electric power generation. The average home actually contributes more to global warming than the average car. This is because much of the energy we use in our homes comes from power plants which burn fossil fuel to power our electric products.

To reduce the amount of electricity used in our homes:

  • Switch to energy-efficient lighting
    Replace the familiar incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. For each CFL bulb replacement, you’ll lower your energy bill and keep nearly 700 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air over the bulb’s lifetime. CFL bulbs last much longer and use only a quarter of the energy consumed by conventional bulbs. LED bulbs are also energy-saving, but have a narrower range of application. Advances in LED bulb technology, however, are leading to more applications for these bulbs in the home. LEDs are more efficient than CFLs and do not have issues surrounding disposal, as do the CFLs. More info.
  • Improve the efficiency of home appliances
    Home appliances vary greatly in terms of energy-efficiency and operating costs. The more energy-efficient an appliance is, the less it costs to run. You can lower your utility bill and help protect the environment. Here’s how.
  • Buy energy-efficient appliances when shopping for a new appliance
    Do this especially when shopping for a major appliance such as a refrigerator, dishwasher, or air-conditioner – select the one with the highest energy efficiency rating. By opting for a refrigerator with the Energy Star label — indicating it uses at least 15 percent less energy than the federal requirement — you can reduce carbon dioxide pollution by nearly a ton in total. More info.
  • Reduce energy needed for heating
    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling systems in the U.S. emit over a half billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Much of the energy used for heating our homes is wasted, and yet the prevention is, in many cases, simple and inexpensive. Here’s how.
  • Reduce energy needed for cooling
    Air conditioners alone use up to 1/6th of the electricity in the U.S. and, on hot summer days, consume 43% of the U.S. peak power load. You can reduce much of the need for air conditioning, and enjoy a cost savings benefit, by using ‘passive’ techniques to help cool your home. Here’s how.

Improve vehicle fuel-efficiency

The second largest source of greenhouse gases is transportation. Motor vehicles are responsible for about a third of all carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. and Canada.

  • Practice fuel-efficient driving
    Every gallon of gasoline burned puts 26 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. You can boost the overall fuel-efficiency of your car as much as 30% by simple vehicle maintenance and attention to your style of driving. Read these tips for fuel-efficient driving.
  • Buy a fuel-efficient car
    Even more important is the choice of car or truck you buy. If you buy a new car that gets 10 more miles per gallon than your old car, the amount of carbon dioxide reduction realized in one year will be about 2,500 pounds. The new hybrid cars, using efficient gas-electric engines, can cut global warming pollution by 30% or more. Learn more about hybrid cars.
  • Recycle air conditioner coolant
    If your car has an air conditioner, make sure you recycle its coolant whenever you have it serviced. You can save thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide each year by doing this.
  • Drive less
    You’ll save energy by taking the bus, riding a bike, or walking. Try consolidating trips to the mall or longer routine drives. Encourage car-pooling.

Conserve energy in the home and yard

Yard maintenance contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions. Per hour of operation, a power lawn mower emits 10-12 times as much hydrocarbon as a typical auto. A weedeater emits 21 times more and a leaf blower 34 times more.

  • Reduce lawn size
    Lawn size can be reduced by adding shrubs, beds, ground covers and mulched areas. Try creating a lawn area small enough to be mowed using an efficient reel (push) mower. Lawn edging can be set low enough to mow over, reducing or eliminating the need for a weed-eater. More info.
  • Recycle whenever possible
    Aluminum cans, newspapers, magazines, cardboard, glass – anything recycled reduces the energy needed to create new products. To find the recycling center nearest you, call: 1 800-CLEANUP. For ideas on home recycling, click here for more info.
  • Eat locally produced food
    Today, the food choices available in supermarkets come from all over the world. All of this ‘traffic’ in food requires staggering amounts of fuel – generally by refrigerated airplanes or transport trucks. Food transportation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. More info.
  • Eat vegetarian meals
    Vegetarian food requires much less energy to produce. Enjoying vegetarian meals once or twice a week results in significant CO2 savings. More info.
  • Paint your home a light color if you live in a warm climate, or a dark color in a cold climate.
    This can contribute saving up to 5000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  • Choose clean energy options
    If you can choose your electricity supplier, pick a company that generates at least half its power from wind, solar energy and other renewable sources.
  • Buy clean energy certificates and carbon offsets
    Help spur the renewable energy market and cut global warming pollution with “wind certificates” or “green tags,” which represent clean power you can add to the nation’s energy grid in place of electricity from fossil fuels. More info.

    A “carbon offset” is an emission reduction credit which can be purchased by individuals, businesses and governments to reduce their net greenhouse gas emissions. More info.

While it may be difficult to adopt some of these suggestions, any amount of energy saved is significant. Even small changes are worthwhile, as they spark our awareness. As we become more aware of the importance of saving energy, we find ways of saving where possible.

Making energy conservation a part of our daily awareness is essential to the goal of reducing global warming.

Related information:

Forecast Earth – climate change, global warming and green living information
Global Warming: it’s not too late
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
The One-Tonne Challenge
Is global warming real?
How global warming has developed
The hidden opportunity in global warming
Carbon Offsets
Climate Change – why we can’t wait

Posted in Science and Transportation Tags , ,
  • http://intensedebate.com/people/greg_eartheasy Greg Seaman

    Breanna, you are right on, on all counts. Good for you for thinking independently and believing in yourself.

  • BreannaL

    It doesn't matter whether global warming is real or not. You can still do things to help the world. It was interesting to hear your opinion, though.

  • Charel

    I agree I want this world to last as long as possible I am only a kid but I try my best to help out!
    great website!

    sicerly,
    charel

  • anoymous

    So true.

  • http://www.fringe.com John H. Fringer, III

    Rick Evans (of Zager & Evans) wrote these lyrics in 1964:
    “In the year of 9595
    I’m wondering if man is gonna be alive
    He’s taken everything this old earth can give
    And he ain’t put back nothin….”He should’ve written: “In the year 2025…”. But if you’re a republican, you must adhere to the party line and deny that glo…bal warming exists or is caused by rising greenhouse gas levels. That’s like saying, “I must deny reality because of my political views.” What if the republican party line was, “Cigarette smoking is harmless”? Then you, as a republican, would smoke in defiance and ridicule scientific evidence that smoking causes cancer, right?

  • http://www.hydristor.com thomas kasmer

    Do a Google search of the word Hydristor. This program of retrofitting existing vehicles can substantially reduce the CO2 emissions from existing vehicles while doubling fuel efficiency.The Hydristor system converts any vehicle into a hydraulic hydrid and the existing car is not scrapped. Performance is greatly improved and that also improves the saleability of vehicles like Ford Expeditions, Cadillac Escalades and Dodge Rams that will now rocket to 60 on pre-stored energy which is added to the engine. A diesel Suburban will reach 60at the limit of tire adhesion in 3 seconds flat. Just imagine how rejuzinated SUVs and large pickups would re-ignite the public desire for them for the fuel economy
    and performance with the unconscious benefit of large CO2 reductions.

    Tom Kasmer 607-2068960, tkasmer@yahoo.com

  • May peace b wid u

    we are able to see it and I wonder why u cant feel it

  • Ologba thaddeus

    How possible is it to feed only or mosty on vegetable

    • KELLY

      it doest mean to just eat vegies dude it means to think on ways you can maybe like snacks…
      "Enjoying vegetarian meals once or twice a week results in significant CO2 savings". thats what it said not for your life.. just saying, all this website is trying to say is how you can help our earth your just
      another one of those human beings out there that need to help its your choise to do so-MTB… :)

  • Chris Schmidt

    All I can say for sure is that God never meant for us to just keep using up all of our resources which he gave us. Basically this world was meant to be a garden for us to take care of and therefore it does not have unlimited resources since the Earth was not made to be put through the destruction which it has endured and so it is up to us to start taking better care of what God gave us.

    • Jay Williams

      You have the best response here thus far. I truly agree with your comment.

  • Adam Lopata

    everything that is more energy-efficient is much much more expensive…

  • carolyne

    well nothing should ever stop
    exept global warming

  • http://Gmail Susheel

    These problems are self created by us, so we have to start on the way of controling this global warming without delay. Everything is possible with GOD.

  • Julia

    Global warming has NOTHING to do with God. We have caused global warming ourselves and we can also attempt to overcome it ourselves.

    • Veronica

      I think u r rite

  • philip clarkson

    When making decision, on what we should do about global adverse climate change.
    It is better too deal with the anomalies as they arise, then plan for certainty of what we will do.

  • Simon Daily

    It is arrogant of man to believe he can control the weather. God is in control.

    Genesis 8:22 –
    “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.”

    • Guess who??

      REALLY you believe in that bull??

      • The other 99%

        Look we are responsible for our own environmental downfall, it’s up to us to prevent any more damage. Only a fool would stand back and not try to save themselves!

    • Jami

      I dont think it is arrogant at all. God gave us free will, if we choose to destroy our planet then we will reap the consequences

  • Eli

    WE ARE EMITTING TOO MUCH CARBON DIOXIDE PEOPLE!!!!!!

    • Mkfirekirby

      WE ARE EMITTING TOO MUCH CARBON DIOXIDE PEOPLE!!!!!!

  • Ana

    I think that Global warming has been here in earth even before we were here……
    Don't the scientist say that the ice melted and then go back in to ice meybe they are not saying the whole truth????

  • gabriella

    are you kidding me ! 10 years ?? so wait if we dont succeed the planet will have 100years only 2 live?

  • Jillian

    I think your right. All we need to do is our part in just everyday things.

  • meeeeeeeeeeeee

    Global warming is bad news – we should take it seriously or else it could be too late – I want to live on this beautiful Earth – Lets protect it together……………….

  • His Apasul of God

    God created cold and hot. If you dont think you can get hot, try to not believe in God and see how hot it gets in the afterlife HA!

    As for now, we can all do our part to help recycle, reuse and reduce and stop overheating from landfills and trash trucks by recycling.

  • Eddie

    Hello,

    We should all abandon the use of oil as a fuel and the use of coal as an enery source. We should use ethanol, biogas, hydrogen gas and electric power as fuels and wind, solar and hydropower as an energy source. If we keep use the fuel gasoline and the energy source coal, the glaciers will melt away and the water level will rise by 7 feet and then it will occur more tsunamis and natural disasters. The earth will be heated up to unnatural temperatures and there will be drought and shortages of water.

  • Paulo

    I think we should reduce electricity used in our homes. In my opinion, we should use wind turbine and solar energy sources in our environment. As for now, we can all do our part to help recycle, reuse and reduce and stop overheating from landfills and trash trucks by recycling. ^^

  • the one&only me

    half the stuff u see on the web is false. but global warming is not fake and is in action as i type this. but ppl aint gonna kno they can change global warming because nasa and other agencys like tht keep hidin it and think its not ok for publicity to kno wat nasa knows. we needa smarter president tht knows wat to do about this cus obama is more worried about changin the economy, were not gonna hav an economy if we continue not doin anything about global warming. not including the fact tht global warming is already started.. i mean ya u can slow it down but all the carbon monoxide thts in the air now isnt gonna go away. its already there. end of story. and ppl needa stop pumpin oil and stuff out the ground. its there for a reason.

    • ashly

      no its not. its true and its real beacause i live in cold climate and it came true so what are you talking about

  • Angel

    U all guys are right.We should stop this climate change.We will not let our world destroyed like this.Day by day the danger is coming nearer.So,we all should do whatever we can do to protect this beautiful world…………….

    • Greg Seaman

      Angel, yooung people like yourself bring hope for the future. Thank you for your comment.

  • Angel

    Breannal, I am also a kid and i agree with your comment.Even my thoughts are also same.I am born in Bangladesh.Can I know in which country you are born?

  • Bela' Carr

    Don't have your house made larger than you need it. So others know that you are very rich. Don't build very large homes to "show off." Show off. Give the money to those who don't have a home. We know that you give. But that money would be much better used. And don't build a lot of homes around the world-again. It increases global warming. Your grand children wouldn't like you for increasing the warmth for them and all the great problems you gave them. And don't do all of those things that make you feel better than others. WHO CARES!

  • Charles

    Whether by human intervention or natural process, the evidence is that global warming and climate change are happening and we have to deal with it. Previous occasions of global warming as suggested by the evidence had little impact because there were so few people: now we have to contend with a population of 6.0billion…

    Global warming should be seen less as punishment for environmental profligacy, but as a catalyst for change: Business as usual it ain't, and anyone that wants to drag us back to the familiar structures and methods of how we go about being who we are and what we do will have to face an army of creative, innovative, entrepreneurial folks intent on re-configuring it all.

    We have been the wealthiest, the longest-living, the best educated, the most mobile, the most interconnected we have ever been as a civilization, and yet we are still thinking in imperial units, with ideas and visions trapped in the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Here is a great aphorism from the Baha'i writings: "The world is one country, and mankind its citizens."

    • Greg Seaman

      Charles, I very much appreciate your perspective. Well said!

  • Guess who??

    All you crazy nuts who think god is controlling the weather are unbelievably wrong. Honestly, what is the world coming to???????

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ofer-El-Hashahar/1130695039 Ofer El Hashahar

    Wow,
    the things is we do not always think about all these things. For example lawn edging use around the world. I mean, that can reduce the use of strimmers in 60-80% – think how many engine hours is that- all around the Us or around the world.
    When thinking about any of these, on large scale – it may save a lot of energy, smoke etc.

    In the last few years I decided to do something about it,
    So I manufactured  few ”solutions ” like that to assist growing more local
    and easy and green.

    So we have raised beds in the front garden in several shapes, digging potatoes with my daughters was so much fun too- as opposed to buy potatoes that traveled miles . 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ofer-El-Hashahar/1130695039 Ofer El Hashahar

    Wow so right. think scale – lawn edging will save 50-80% of time using strimmer, when you think about all america or world that can be massive- reduce of engine hours, smoke fuel noise etc.

  • Craig

    The question I have is: Is there a way to reverse the damage that’s already been done? Now I know global climate change is a natural process, but this process has obviously been sped up with the amount of pollution we’ve put in the atmosphere over the last 20 years or so. If we were to stop polluting so much, would the atmosphere go back to the way it was? Or would it just keep things from getting worse?

    • http://eartheasy.com/ Greg Seaman

      The change in global climate, according to scientific consensus, is a result of cumulative carbon pollution over the past 200 years, or since the Industrial Revolution began. There has been an escalation of this pollution in the past 20 – 40 years due to increased population and industrial activity.
      The first goal is to reduce carbon emissions. If we can do this, there should be a commensurate decrease in the accelerating rate of climate change. But there is no evidence that this alone will reverse the damage incurred. There are a host of geoengineering schemes which hope to reverse the effects of climate change but these are untested and unproven.
      The best strategy we have to address climate change is to reduce carbon emissions.

    • StillBroke Jones

      Hello, what damage has been done already? What do you want? Im not sure the exact number but the climate alarmists are saying we have warmed the planet 1c i think… would you like the global avg temperature to reduce by 1c? what changes do you expect and what bad things have happened because of this 1c increase that you would like changed back?

  • http://twitter.com/jonathanbroadhu jonathan broadhurst

    we can help the earth recover to a degree , ie stop fllooding by the sea ,produce free electricity , more trees, food ect,,,, there are a posible 30 ist sites over the world that iv located , intrested ,,,, the earth is a vauble tool not a bit of rubish to be used up before its time, yes it will cost to sort this out, but the benifits are we have a world to live in…

  • Marin

    Guys this what we are doing to our earth and atmosphere can’t be stopped,individual or smaller group/organization can’t do anything to slow down global warming.You cant change the life style of man in 21st century and you shouldn’t worry about it cause consequences will be clearly visible for I assume around 80 years and then we will all who are reading this right now,this article will be dead or with one leg in grave!

  • disqus_I3lnvWVUqS

    Look guys, God doesn’t control the weather, humans created the exaggerated effects of global warming. If you believe in God, good 4 u but personally he doesn’t exist. Just humans.

  • Paul

    Here’s the answer. Flood Lake Eyre, Gardner and other inland Australian lakes with sea water. This could easily be done as they are below sea level and are natural drainage areas. (They are already salt lakes so don’t worry about the environment) This would create a water surface area of some two thousand square kilometres. Hot winds traveling over these surfaces will be cooled. In addition there will be considerable evaporation and this moisture will be blown against the Great Divide and Mount Lofty Ranges where it will hopefully create orographic rainfall. Statistics indicate this is what happens when Lake Eyre is full. So let’s assist nature and keep the water cycle moving.

    • http://eartheasy.com/ Greg Seaman

      Interesting…….I hope you pass on your idea.

  • Mark G.

    While all of these things are a good start, earthlings will never be able to get it together to stop global warming unless they are forced to at the point of a gun. Automobile manufacturers must be forced to stop producing gas guzzling gas pig vehicles. All logging should be halted. Airline flights for individuals should be restricted to one flight per year. All cruise ships should be banned. All big pleasure boats should be banned. All 2 cycle engines should be banned. All transport trucks banned and goods should be sent by rail as before. These are just a few things and the economy will be seriously affected.
    And how could we ever make other countries do the same except by force?
    In other words, humanity is doomed. If man made global warming is real, then we are witnessing an extinction event. Unless there are other factors we do not forsee it appears to be over for us as a species.
    Perhaps some hardy souls will survive somehow and the story of Adam and Eve will begin again.The earth will eventually return to normal I would think.
    It was a good ride but as with all things, everything come to an end, including us.

  • Gaurav Arora

    I feel ‘Better never than late’. Even if we start now, we might not be able to reverse the damage. but we can still delay the consequences. We should all follow all the practices required to save our nature.

    Even with an initiative for fuel efficient driving, the various car companies have started coming with the fuel efficient technologies that can help the drivers to drive efficiently by saving fuel. Not just this, We will soon be able to convert our current car into hybrid car. No need to buy a new one See this : http://www.carkorner.com/news/2013/03/05/go-green-with-your-existing-cars/

  • Lillian

    I believe in God but I also believe that human beings have polluted the beautiful Earth he gave for us to take care of. At the end of the day, we will all go back to God but our Earth will be left for the future generations of people. So, if you believe in God, u will care for his creations and also of future generations.

    • http://eartheasy.com/ Greg Seaman

      Well said Lillian, thank you!

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