Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Ununderstood Phenomenon

Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of Earth’s near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century.
he recently concluded Copenhagen Summit 2009 reiterates again the increasing need for us human beings to heed the earth?s warning about climate change. The Copenhagen talks was part of the annual series of UN meetings, originating from the Earth Summit held in 1992, which aimed at coordinated international action against climate change.
So, what is this climate change and how is it happening? How do we stop it or how do we help?
Climate change is a change in the distribution of weather over periods of time that ranges from decades to millions of years. It can either be a change in the average weather or a change in the distribution of weather events. Climate change may be just limited to a specific region, or may occur across the whole Earth.
In the recent context climate change refers to the changes in modern climate, more generally known as the global warming.
Reduce your footprintsA carbon footprint is the total set of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, or product. In other words, the carbon footprint is the representation of the effect of an entity or organization on the Earth’s climate in terms of the total amount of greenhouse gases produced (expressed in units of carbon dioxide, CO2). Put simply, it is the amount of carbon dioxide, or its equivalent of other GHGs that are emitted. Now, reducing carbon footprints is our responsibility as stewards of the Earth. So the big question is “how?”
Number one: Unplug appliances that you don’t use frequently. Most electronics from cell phone chargers to laptops, televisions to stereos, have a standby mode that siphons energy even when not in use. If you want, you can try using a power strip for groups of electronic items. One flick of the switch and it’s all off.
Number two: Follow the three Rs – reduce, reuse, and recycle. Try buying less, and reusing and fixing things when you can instead of buying new. Segregate your trash so you can easily recycle materials from your trash bin.
Number three: Use fluorescent bulbs. Long life CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs last up to fifteen times longer than regular bulbs and use up eighty percent less electricity than regular bulbs. You could simply replace your regular bulbs as and when they burn out.
Number four: Buy organic and local. Also, try eating at restaurants that serve locally produced or seasonal foods. Goods and services that are produced locally eliminate thousands of pounds of carbon by reducing fossil fuel transportation demands. Number five: Plant a tree. Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, and so planting a tree will definitely make a big difference in our efforts of reducing carbon footprints and saving the world we live in
Climate change is defined as a change in the statistical distribution of weather over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. There are a number of natural factors responsible for climate change. Some of the more prominent ones are continental drift, volcanoes, ocean currents, the earth’s tilt, and comets and meteorites. Also, there are several greenhouse gases responsible for warming, and humans emit them in a variety of ways.
Global surface temperature has been steadily increasing since the 20th century. According to research and environmental organizations, like The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), most of the increase in temperature has been caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases resulting from human activity like fossil fuel burning and deforestation.
Since the Industrial Revolution, in the 18th and the 19th Century, human activity has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, like CO2, methane, tropospheric ozone, CFCs and nitrogen oxide. According to statistics, the CO2 and methane concentrations have increased by 36% and 148% respectively since 1750. These levels are much higher than at any time during the last 650,000 years. Continuous burning of fossil fuel in the form of coal, petrol, diesel, and its other derivatives, has increased the CO2 emission to about three-quarters over the past 20 years. Another factor for green house gas emission is large amount of deforestation.
The future rate of rise in green house gasses will depend on uncertain economic, sociological, technological, and natural developments. According to the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios the CO2 emission is likely to increase in the range of 541 to 970 ppm by the year 2100, which is an increase by 90-250% since 1750.
So, how does it affect us? Well, with the increase in green house gasses and deforestation, there would be significant increase in air pollution, which will lead to global warming and this will lead to all the glaciers to melt, increasing the water level, which will ultimately submerge most of the continents. Reminded of the motion picture 2012? Yes, whatever was shown in the motion picture can actually happen, if we do not take care now.
So, how do we help? We all can start making small changes in our lifestyle to do our mite in saving the world. Here are few tips that we all can follow:
1. Avoid polythene bags when you shop. Carry a cloth bag whenever you go for shopping.
2. Plant trees. If you live in apartment, then you can start a potted garden in your balcony or terrace.
3. Change your bulbs to CFL, which not only saves energy, but also reduces carbon emission.
4. Stop using bottled water and instead get re-usable container to carry water, which is not only cost efficient but also reduces plastic waste.
5. Always turn off your lights, fans or any electrical appliances, when not using them. This will not only save power, but also reduce your electricity bills.
6. Walk whenever you can. This way, you not only catch up on your exercise, but reduce carbon emission from your vehicle.


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