Save The Environment | Teen Ink

Save The Environment

May 4, 2009
By mizzN GOLD, London, New Hampshire
mizzN GOLD, London, New Hampshire
15 articles 3 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
Knowledge is Power

The environment is important for us in the future, climate change all depends on us really and whether we are going to take action or not and help to improve our environment.

By Saving Energy, when you switch of the light

Buying and Selling Renewable Energy

Financing a Clean Energy Future

In the past year, world temperatures reached record highs, oil prices climbed to new peaks, and the market for clean energy technologies grew dramatically. These trends illustrate both the imperative to move beyond outdated patterns of energy use and the enormous opportunities awaiting enlightened innovators with the courage to pursue new approaches.
New evidence of unprecedented changes in the Earth’s climate continues to emerge. Glaciers are receding at an astounding rate. Ancient seasonal patterns are shifting. Rainfall is coming in more intense and concentrated bursts, just as predicted by models of global warming. The ten warmest years have all occurred since 1990, with 2005 breaking all records.
World energy markets experienced their own turmoil in the past year. With global demand growing sharply and fears of instability among key suppliers, oil prices soared. Businesses and consumers struggled to respond, with the deepest impact felt in poor countries. Energy prices and the physical security of energy supplies were top priorities for political leaders in many countries.

Visionary leaders are finding exciting new ways to confront these challenges. Many companies and communities are cutting costs with energy-efficiency programs. Municipal leaders are promoting better-designed cities. Investors and entrepreneurs are racing toward wind and solar energy, alternative fuels and plug-in hybrid engines.
This year, the Clinton Global Initiative will explore specific steps for cutting emissions of heat-trapping gases and shaping a clean energy future. In broad outline, the path is clear: We need to use less energy and find cleaner sources. We need to break down barriers – including lack of information – that slow the adoption of clean energy technologies. We need sufficient funding to bring down costs for clean technologies and polices that promote their adoption.
Scientists in the UK and across the World are looking at the evidence of climate change and are also using computer models to come up with predictions for our future environment and weather.
However, the next stage of that work, which is just as important, is looking at the knock-on effects of potential changes.
Water is an enormous consideration. As we are likely to see an increase in precipitation and sea level rises, does that mean an increase in flooding? What can we do to protect ourselves from that and how will it affect us financially?
Also, how will our health be affected by global warming, how will agricultural practices change, how will wildlife cope and what will the effects on coral be?
As for opportunities, well there will certainly be some positives of climate change as well as negatives so it is worth us considering those too.
Energy from the sun drives the earth’s weather and climate, and heats the earth’s surface; in turn, the earth radiates energy back into space. Atmospheric greenhouse gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases) trap some of the outgoing energy, retaining heat somewhat like the glass panels of a greenhouse.
Without this natural “greenhouse effect,” temperatures would be much lower than they are now, and life as known today would not be possible. Instead, thanks to greenhouse gases, the earth’s average temperature is a more hospitable 60°F. However, problems may arise when the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases increases.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased nearly 30%, methane concentrations have more than doubled, and nitrous oxide concentrations have risen by about 15%. These increases have enhanced the heat-trapping capability of the earth’s atmosphere. Sulfate aerosols, a common air pollutant, cool the atmosphere by reflecting light back into space; however, sulfates are short-lived in the atmosphere and vary regionally.
Why are greenhouse gas concentrations increasing? Scientists believe that the combustion of fossil fuels and other human activities are the primary reason for the increased concentration of carbon dioxide. Plant respiration and the decomposition of organic matter release more than 10 times the CO2 released by human activities; but these releases have generally been in balance during the centuries leading up to the industrial revolution with carbon dioxide absorbed by terrestrial vegetation and the oceans.
What has changed in the last few hundred years is the additional release of carbon dioxide by human activities. Fossil fuels burned to run cars and trucks, heat homes and businesses, and power factories are responsible for about 98% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, 24% of methane emissions, and 18% of nitrous oxide emissions. Increased agriculture, deforestation, landfills, industrial production, and mining also contribute a significant share of emissions. The United States emitts about one-fifth of total global greenhouse gases.
Estimating future emissions is difficult, because it depends on demographic, economic, technological, policy, and institutional developments. Several emissions scenarios have been developed based on differing projections of these underlying factors. For example, by 2100, in the absence of emissions control policies, carbon dioxide concentrations are projected to be 30-150% higher than today’s levels.
Today, action is occurring at every level to reduce, to avoid, and to better understand the risks associated with climate change. Many cities and states across the US have prepared greenhouse gas inventories; and many are actively pursuing programs and policies that will result in greenhouse gas emission reductions. More than two hundred US cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Seattle, have all urged the federal government to join the Kyoto Protocol. Socially responsible companies are developing climate change strategies and committing to reduce their climate footprints. Hybrid cars are making a difference and nonprofits groups like are leading the way to make it easy and affordable for any person or company to reduce their climate footprint.
Scientists know for certain that human activities are changing the composition of Earth’s atmosphere. Increasing levels of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide (CO2), in the atmosphere since pre-industrial times have been well documented. There is no doubt this atmospheric build up of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is largely the result of human activities.
It’s well accepted by scientists that greenhouse gases trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and tend to warm the planet. By increasing the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, human activities are strengthening Earth’s natural greenhouse effect. The key greenhouse gases emitted by human activities remain in the atmosphere for periods ranging from decades to centuries. A warming trend of about 1°F has been recorded since the late 19th century. Warming has occurred in both the northern and southern hemispheres, and over the oceans. Confirmation of 20th-century global warming is further substantiated by melting glaciers, decreased snow cover in the northern hemisphere and even warming below ground.
So hopefully now if we can reduce pollution global warming will cease not to occur and human activities cut down than the chances are the greenhouse effect will weaken.

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