Climate change traps the sun's heat as greenhouse gas emissions blanket the Earth. The causes of global warming and climate change can be found here. At any point in recorded history, the world has never warmed more quickly than it has now.
And, if current trends continue, the Earth will become warmer by an average of more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. The following are some of the causes of harmful global warming: The burning of fossil fuels: Coal, oil, and natural gas, which provide energy for transportation, heating and electricity, are all fossil fuels. Fossil fuels were formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals that died millions of years ago and were buried under layers of soil and rock. When fossil fuels are extracted and burned and the soils are heated, they release trapped gases, including carbon dioxide and methane. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat and leads to global warming.
In order to produce electricity and heat for homes and industries, we burn huge quantities of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Most electricity is still produced from fossil fuels; only about a quarter comes from wind, solar, and other renewable sources.
If the world is to meet the Paris Agreement’s target of keeping global warming below 2°C by 2100, we need to stop burning fossil fuels to produce electricity by the end of this century. Fossil fuels are the primary cause of climate change. Fossil fuel combustion also causes air pollution. Air pollution is linked to premature death and disease in hundreds of millions of people every year. It is estimated that air pollution causes about 10% of all deaths worldwide. The cost of air pollution to society is not just measured in terms of health. Air pollution is also responsible for billions of dollars in lost productivity each year.
Manufacturers and industry produce emissions, most from burning fossil fuels to produce energy for making everything from cement, iron, steel, electronics, plastic, clothes, and other goods. In mining, and other industrial processes, chemicals, and gases are also released.
In all these industries, the emissions are regulated by governments and international organizations, but current regulations are not strict enough to prevent global warming. Some of the key emissions are carbon dioxide (CO2., methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide, lead, mercury, nitrogen oxides, hydrofluorocarbons, volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons, dioxins, and radioactive substances. The emission of these substances are measured in tons per year. In the US, the EPA defines an air pollutant as any substance that causes or contributes to air pollution.
Cutting down forests to create farm or pasture land, or for other reasons, causes emissions. Trees, when cut, release the carbon they've been storing. We have to protect forestland, since forests naturally remove carbon dioxide from the air and help mitigate climate change.
We can stop cutting down forests, if we use land for other purposes. For example, while some farms use land for grass and crops, and many cities are using brownfield land as parks, gardens, and other public spaces. A lot of these lands are in cities and states that have done their part to address climate change by adopting climate-friendly policies. We can build on their work and protect our forests and other ecosystems, while also helping the environment and creating jobs. The most effective way to protect our forests is to restore them.
The vast majority of vehicles, ships, and planes use diesel fuel, jet fuel, or a combination of both. Transportation is one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide emissions. Road vehicles account for the largest part, but emissions from ships and planes continue to grow.
In addition to using fossil fuels, transportation is also one of the biggest sources of air pollution in many parts of the world. According to the World Health Organization, over 90 percent of the world’s population lives in cities that are polluted with dangerous levels of particulate matter (PM). While there are many factors that affect the amount of greenhouse gases and air pollution released by a vehicle, it is the combustion engine that is responsible for the lion’s share of these emissions. In order to reduce the amount of pollution and emissions that are produced by transportation, some of the most powerful and well-funded companies in the world have come up with alternative energy vehicles.
Producing food requires energy to run farm equipment or fishing boats, so it use a lot of fossil fuels. Growing crops can also cause emissions, like when using fertilizers, tractors and combines. Eating beef is even worse than eating other foods because cattle also produce methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
All of these things are contributing to the problem of climate change. The more people that eat beef, the more greenhouse gases we’re producing. If everyone in the world were to cut back on meat and dairy consumption, we could cut down on our carbon emissions by about 30 percent. The good news is that there are many ways to reduce our impact as a vegetarian or vegan. The most important thing is to reduce our overall amount of meat and dairy consumption. When we eat less meat, we’ll have more energy to exercise, which will help burn more calories. We'll also have less food waste, which is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
Globally, buildings use about 40 percent of the world's total energy. This is an environmentally harmful practice. Heating and cooling houses by using coal, oil, or natural gas or electricity generated by fossil fuels produces significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.
The cost of heating and cooling a home is often the largest consumer of energy in a building. Heating and cooling buildings accounts for more than 70 percent of residential energy consumption, even though the average home uses only about 20 percent of the space it takes to heat and cool. A typical US home uses 30% of its total energy for heating and cooling. The average US home has a heating and cooling system that is 10 years old. In the UK, building accounts for about 40% of all energy use. In the Netherlands, buildings are responsible for 50% of energy use.
There’s no doubt that our homes and how we use power, how we move around, what we eat, and how much waste we create all release harmful greenhouse gasses. And consumer spending is not limited to clothing, electronics, or plastics. It's about the consumption of goods like food, beverages, transportation, and entertainment. And excess consumption of these and other products result in the release more carbon dioxide than we should otherwise be emitting.
The good news is that the market is starting to take climate change seriously. We are starting to cutback on excessive consumption and we see that with the growth of green products and renewable energy. We also see it with the growth of clean meat and clean transportation. The bad news is that some of the companies that have the most to gain from a low-carbon future are the ones that are making the least amount of progress towards that goal. Unfortunately only a small number of companies and consumers are leading the way toward a low-carbon future, while many others are lagging behind.
1. Greenhouse gases are the leading cause of harmful global warming. Most greenhouse gases are emitted from power plants and cars. Burning fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) creates carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and other greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, making it warmer than it should be. When you add all the greenhouses gases together, they exceed 400 parts per million. The Earth's average temperature has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past century. It's getting warmer every year.
2. Human activity is the main cause of greenhouse gas emissions. We use fossil fuels for transportation, electricity generation, heating and cooling, manufacturing, farming, and more.
3. We've been burning fossil fuels for over 100 years. It's time for a change. Let's stop using fossil fuels and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.