Climate Change Glog

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Climate Change Glog

Higher TemperaturesChanging Rain and Snow PatternsMore DroughtsWarmer OceansRising Sea LevelWilder WeatherIncreased Ocean AcidityShrinking Sea IceMelting GlaciersLess SnowpackThawing Permafrost

5 things you can do about climate changeBy Elizabeth Landau, CNNUpdated 5:09 PM ET, Tue May 6, 2014Tainted water pours into a containment pond in a Unity field processing facility in what is now South Sudan, where there are concerns about the environmental damage being caused by the oil industry.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos5th most at risk: South Sudan – Tainted water pours into a containment pond in a Unity field processing facility in what is now South Sudan, where there are concerns about the environmental damage being caused by the oil industry.Hide Caption6 of 10Residents of Jacmel, Haiti, make their way through floodwaters as Tropical Storm Isaac dumps heavy rains in August 2012. An extreme exposure to climate-related events, combined with poor health care access, weak infrastructure, high levels of poverty and an over-reliance on agriculture have led to the country being categorized as at "extreme" risk.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos4th most at risk: Haiti – Residents of Jacmel, Haiti, make their way through floodwaters as Tropical Storm Isaac dumps heavy rains in August 2012. An extreme exposure to climate-related events, combined with poor health care access, weak infrastructure, high levels of poverty and an over-reliance on agriculture have led to the country being categorized as at "extreme" risk.Hide Caption7 of 10Felled trees lie on the mountainside just outside Freetown. African countries account for 14 of the 20 most at-risk nations.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos3rd most at risk: Sierra Leone – Felled trees lie on the mountainside just outside Freetown. African countries account for 14 of the 20 most at-risk nations.Hide Caption8 of 10Residents walk past the Parliament in Bissau, capital of Guinea-Bissau. African countries rank as at high risk in the index, partly due to their natural susceptibility to events such as floods, droughts, fires, storms or landslides. But their high ranking is also a product of the vulnerability of the population and the inadequacies of existing infrastructure to adapt to or tackle climate change challenges because of weak economies, governance, education and health care.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos2nd most at risk: Guinea-Bissau – Residents walk past the Parliament in Bissau, capital of Guinea-Bissau. African countries rank as at high risk in the index, partly due to their natural susceptibility to events such as floods, droughts, fires, storms or landslides. But their high ranking is also a product of the vulnerability of the population and the inadequacies of existing infrastructure to adapt to or tackle climate change challenges because of weak economies, governance, education and health care.Hide Caption9 of 10Bangladeshis attempt to stay dry above flood waters in the capital, Dhaka. Bangladesh was ranked by Maplecroft the country most vulnerable to climate change, and Dhaka the world's most vulnerable city, due to its exposure to threats such as flooding, storm surge, cyclones and landslides, its susceptible population and weak institutional capacity to address the problem.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photosMost at risk: Bangladesh – Bangladeshis attempt to stay dry above flood waters in the capital, Dhaka. Bangladesh was ranked by Maplecroft the country most vulnerable to climate change, and Dhaka the world's most vulnerable city, due to its exposure to threats such as flooding, storm surge, cyclones and landslides, its susceptible population and weak institutional capacity to address the problem.Hide Caption10 of 10A farmer and his children plant a field with bean seeds and fertilizer in southern Ethiopia in 2008, a year after severe floods destroyed most of the food crop. Ethiopia is the country 10th most vulnerable to climate change effects, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/29/world/climate-change-vulnerability-index/index.html">according to a 2013 report by Maplecroft</a>.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos10th most at risk: Ethiopia – A farmer and his children plant a field with bean seeds and fertilizer in southern Ethiopia in 2008, a year after severe floods destroyed most of the food crop. Ethiopia is the country 10th most vulnerable to climate change effects, according to a 2013 report by Maplecroft.Hide Caption1 of 10Manila, capital of the Philippines, is one of the five cities, all in Asia and all projected to be centers of high economic growth, that face "extreme risk" from climate change impacts, according to the Maplecroft report.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos9th most at risk: Philippines – Manila, capital of the Philippines, is one of the five cities, all in Asia and all projected to be centers of high economic growth, that face "extreme risk" from climate change impacts, according to the Maplecroft report.Hide Caption2 of 10Cambodia is among the Southeast and South Asian countries tipped to face an increased risk of severe flooding because of projected changes in seasonal rainfall. Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos8th most at risk: Cambodia – Cambodia is among the Southeast and South Asian countries tipped to face an increased risk of severe flooding because of projected changes in seasonal rainfall.Hide Caption3 of 10A fisherman sits in a boat on the shore of Lake Kivu in Goma in August. "There are no big fish because of the gas; we only catch small whitebait," one said of the carbon dioxide and methane that saturate the lake.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos7th most at risk: DR Congo – A fisherman sits in a boat on the shore of Lake Kivu in Goma in August. "There are no big fish because of the gas; we only catch small whitebait," one said of the carbon dioxide and methane that saturate the lake.Hide Caption4 of 10Floodwaters course through Odo Ona in Nigeria's Oyo State in 2011. At least 102 people were killed when a dam burst during torrential rain.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos6th most at risk: Nigeria – Floodwaters course through Odo Ona in Nigeria's Oyo State in 2011. At least 102 people were killed when a dam burst during torrential rain.Hide Caption5 of 10Tainted water pours into a containment pond in a Unity field processing facility in what is now South Sudan, where there are concerns about the environmental damage being caused by the oil industry.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos5th most at risk: South Sudan – Tainted water pours into a containment pond in a Unity field processing facility in what is now South Sudan, where there are concerns about the environmental damage being caused by the oil industry.Hide Caption6 of 10Residents of Jacmel, Haiti, make their way through floodwaters as Tropical Storm Isaac dumps heavy rains in August 2012. An extreme exposure to climate-related events, combined with poor health care access, weak infrastructure, high levels of poverty and an over-reliance on agriculture have led to the country being categorized as at "extreme" risk.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos4th most at risk: Haiti – Residents of Jacmel, Haiti, make their way through floodwaters as Tropical Storm Isaac dumps heavy rains in August 2012. An extreme exposure to climate-related events, combined with poor health care access, weak infrastructure, high levels of poverty and an over-reliance on agriculture have led to the country being categorized as at "extreme" risk.Hide Caption7 of 10Felled trees lie on the mountainside just outside Freetown. African countries account for 14 of the 20 most at-risk nations.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos3rd most at risk: Sierra Leone – Felled trees lie on the mountainside just outside Freetown. African countries account for 14 of the 20 most at-risk nations.Hide Caption8 of 10Residents walk past the Parliament in Bissau, capital of Guinea-Bissau. African countries rank as at high risk in the index, partly due to their natural susceptibility to events such as floods, droughts, fires, storms or landslides. But their high ranking is also a product of the vulnerability of the population and the inadequacies of existing infrastructure to adapt to or tackle climate change challenges because of weak economies, governance, education and health care.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos2nd most at risk: Guinea-Bissau – Residents walk past the Parliament in Bissau, capital of Guinea-Bissau. African countries rank as at high risk in the index, partly due to their natural susceptibility to events such as floods, droughts, fires, storms or landslides. But their high ranking is also a product of the vulnerability of the population and the inadequacies of existing infrastructure to adapt to or tackle climate change challenges because of weak economies, governance, education and health care.Hide Caption9 of 10Bangladeshis attempt to stay dry above flood waters in the capital, Dhaka. Bangladesh was ranked by Maplecroft the country most vulnerable to climate change, and Dhaka the world's most vulnerable city, due to its exposure to threats such as flooding, storm surge, cyclones and landslides, its susceptible population and weak institutional capacity to address the problem.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photosMost at risk: Bangladesh – Bangladeshis attempt to stay dry above flood waters in the capital, Dhaka. Bangladesh was ranked by Maplecroft the country most vulnerable to climate change, and Dhaka the world's most vulnerable city, due to its exposure to threats such as flooding, storm surge, cyclones and landslides, its susceptible population and weak institutional capacity to address the problem.Hide Caption10 of 10A farmer and his children plant a field with bean seeds and fertilizer in southern Ethiopia in 2008, a year after severe floods destroyed most of the food crop. Ethiopia is the country 10th most vulnerable to climate change effects, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/29/world/climate-change-vulnerability-index/index.html">according to a 2013 report by Maplecroft</a>.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos10th most at risk: Ethiopia – A farmer and his children plant a field with bean seeds and fertilizer in southern Ethiopia in 2008, a year after severe floods destroyed most of the food crop. Ethiopia is the country 10th most vulnerable to climate change effects, according to a 2013 report by Maplecroft.Hide Caption1 of 10Manila, capital of the Philippines, is one of the five cities, all in Asia and all projected to be centers of high economic growth, that face "extreme risk" from climate change impacts, according to the Maplecroft report.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos9th most at risk: Philippines – Manila, capital of the Philippines, is one of the five cities, all in Asia and all projected to be centers of high economic growth, that face "extreme risk" from climate change impacts, according to the Maplecroft report.Hide Caption2 of 10Cambodia is among the Southeast and South Asian countries tipped to face an increased risk of severe flooding because of projected changes in seasonal rainfall. Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos8th most at risk: Cambodia – Cambodia is among the Southeast and South Asian countries tipped to face an increased risk of severe flooding because of projected changes in seasonal rainfall.Hide Caption3 of 10A fisherman sits in a boat on the shore of Lake Kivu in Goma in August. "There are no big fish because of the gas; we only catch small whitebait," one said of the carbon dioxide and methane that saturate the lake.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos7th most at risk: DR Congo – A fisherman sits in a boat on the shore of Lake Kivu in Goma in August. "There are no big fish because of the gas; we only catch small whitebait," one said of the carbon dioxide and methane that saturate the lake.Hide Caption4 of 10Floodwaters course through Odo Ona in Nigeria's Oyo State in 2011. At least 102 people were killed when a dam burst during torrential rain.Climate change: 10 countries most at risk 10 photos6th most at risk: Nigeria – Floodwaters course through Odo Ona in Nigeria's Oyo State in 2011. At least 102 people were killed when a dam burst during torrential rain.Hide Caption5 of 10ethiopia drought fieldmanila traffic02 climate changedemocratic republic congo fishingnigeria floodsouth sudan oilhaiti 0826 1sierra leone forestGuinea-Bissau parliamentclimate dhaka Story highlightsClimate expert: Most important thing is to inform yourselfRecycling and reusing can reduce costs and up efficienciesBuy an energy efficient vehicleClimate change isn't something in the far-off future: It's a potentially disastrous reality that's already starting to have effects that are expected to worsen, experts say.Longer summers and heavier rainfalls are some of the impacts Americans are already seeing, according to the National Climate Assessment. We should expect more flooding, wildfires and drought.The report, a new White House update released Tuesday, calls for urgent action on climate change.Climate change is here and action needed now, new White House report saysSo what can you do at home to take action?1. Become informedThe most powerful way that the average person can combat climate change is to become informed about it, says J. Marshall Shepherd, former president of the American Meteorological Society and professor at the University of Georgia.New push on climate changeNew push on climate change 02:32PLAY VIDEOWhite House: Expect droughts, firesWhite House: Expect droughts, fires 03:13PLAY VIDEOExpert: 'We decide' climate change lossesExpert: 'We decide' climate change losses 04:07PLAY VIDEOFriedman: How to react to global warmingFriedman: How to react to global warming 02:30PLAY VIDEO"Obviously, it makes sense for people to be as efficient and green as possible in their thinking on a day-to-day basis," he said. "But where I think the biggest impact that individuals can have is: Becoming climate literate."If you educate yourself about what's going on with climate change and what can be done about it, you can make more informed choices when it comes time to vote for the people with the power to make big decisions."Where the biggest impacts on our planet will be, will come from large-scale policy changes and solutions that are influenced by who's in office," he said.Only read trusted and verified sources of information about climate change, Shepherd said. He recommends the websites climate.gov and Climate Central (of which he is a board member) for essential facts and resources.Learn about various responses to climate change that policy makers are discussing:-- Mitigation means lowering carbon dioxide levels -- for instance, by instituting carbon taxes or taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.-- Adaptation means responding to the consequences of climate change -- for instance, building seawalls to prepare for rising sea levels around vulnerable cities.-- Geoengineering means changing the Earth itself to counteract climate change -- which would include hypothetical technological interventions such as putting large mirrors in space or changing our oceans to absorb more carbon dioxide, Shepherd said.Beyond reading up on the issues, you can still do a small part to influence the big environmental picture.2. Make changes at homeThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists steps to limiting your greenhouse gas emissions, which would also save you money. These include:-- Changing your five most-used light fixtures or bulbs to products that have the EPA's Energy Star label;-- Heat and cool more efficiently, such as by using a programmable thermostat, changing air filters and replacing old equipment with Energy Star products;-- Seal and insulate your home;-- Make use of recycling programs, and compost food and yard waste;--Reduce water waste;--Use green power, such as solar panels;--Estimate how much greenhouse gas you emit with the EPA's calculator.The U.S. Department of Energy has an online guide to buying green power.Check out clean energy resources and financial incentives in your area through the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.

CLIMATE CHANGE

For amphibians and corals, we have identifi ed where thegreatest numbers and proportions of threatened and “climatechange-susceptible”and non-threatened but “climate-changesusceptible”species occur.For amphibians, the largest of such areas for threatened and“climate-change-susceptible” species spans Mesoamericaand northwestern South America, while for non-threatened but“climate-change-susceptible” species, southern Brazil and itsneighbouring countries, and a large region from east to centraland southern Africa are identifi ed as priorities.For corals, high concentration areas occur mainly in the speciesrich‘Coral Triangle’ (Indonesia, Philippines to the SolomonIsland), although various other areas with lower species richnesshave high proportions of “climate-change-susceptible” species.

Climate is usually defined as the “average weather” in a place. It includes patterns of temperature, precipitation (rain or snow), humidity, wind and seasons. Climate patterns play a fundamental role in shaping natural ecosystems, and the human economies and cultures that depend on them. But the climate we’ve come to expect is not what it used to be, because the past is no longer a reliable predictor of the future. Our climate is rapidly changing with disruptive impacts, and that change is progressing faster than any seen in the last 2,000 years.According to the report, Preparing for a Changing Climate, rising levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere have warmed the Earth and are causing wide-ranging impacts, including rising sea levels; melting snow and ice; more extreme heat events, fires and drought; and more extreme storms, rainfall and floods. Scientists project that these trends will continue and in some cases accelerate, posing significant risks to human health, our forests, agriculture, freshwater supplies, coastlines, and other natural resources that are vital to Washington state’s economy, environment, and our quality of life.Because so many systems are tied to climate, a change in climate can affect many related aspects of where and how people, plants and animals live, such as food production, availability and use of water, and health risks. For example, a change in the usual timing of rains or temperatures can affect when plants bloom and set fruit, when insects hatch or when streams are their fullest. This can affect historically synchronized pollination of crops, food for migrating birds, spawning of fish, water supplies for drinking and irrigation, forest health, and more.Some short-term climate variation is normal, but longer-term trends now indicate a changing climate.Our state and societies around the globe need to reduce human-caused greenhouse gas emissions to avoid worsening climate impacts and reduce the risk of creating changes beyond our ability to respond and adapt. Washington state is addressing this challenge and has adopted policies to reduce energy use, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and build a clean energy economy. Some changes in climate — and impacts on our state — are unavoidable, even if we reduce greenhouse gas emissions today. But we can take more actions to reduce progressively worsening impacts.

Contributing Factors

Planetary Symptoms

Forego Fossil Fuels—The first challenge is eliminating the burning of coal, oil and, eventually, natural gas. This is perhaps the most daunting challenge as denizens of richer nations literally eat, wear, work, play and even sleep on the products made from such fossilized sunshine. And citizens of developing nations want and arguably deserve the same comforts, which are largely thanks to the energy stored in such fuels.Oil is the lubricant of the global economy, hidden inside such ubiquitous items as plastic and corn, and fundamental to the transportation of both consumers and goods. Coal is the substrate, supplying roughly half of the electricity used in the U.S. and nearly that much worldwide—a percentage that is likely to grow, according to the International Energy Agency. There are no perfect solutions for reducing dependence on fossil fuels (for example, carbon neutral biofuels can drive up the price of food and lead to forest destruction, and while nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases, it does produce radioactive waste), but every bit counts.So try to employ alternatives when possible—plant-derived plastics, biodiesel, wind power—and to invest in the change, be it by divesting from oil stocks or investing in companies practicing carbon capture and storage.Infrastructure Upgrade—Buildings worldwide contribute around one third of all greenhouse gas emissions (43 percent in the U.S. alone), even though investing in thicker insulation and other cost-effective, temperature-regulating steps can save money in the long run. Electric grids are at capacity or overloaded, but power demands continue to rise. And bad roads can lower the fuel economy of even the most efficient vehicle. Investing in new infrastructure, or radically upgrading existing highways and transmission lines, would help cut greenhouse gas emissions and drive economic growth in developing countries.Of course, it takes a lot of cement, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, to construct new buildings and roads. The U.S. alone contributed 50.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in 2005 from cement production, which requires heating limestone and other ingredients to 1,450 degrees Celsius (2,642 degrees Fahrenheit). Mining copper and other elements needed for electrical wiring and transmission also causes globe-warming pollution.But energy-efficient buildings and improved cement-making processes (such as using alternative fuels to fire up the kiln) could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the developed world and prevent them in the developing world.Move Closer to Work—Transportation is the second leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. (burning a single gallon of gasoline produces 20 pounds of CO2). But it doesn't have to be that way.One way to dramatically curtail transportation fuel needs is to move closer to work, use mass transit, or switch to walking, cycling or some other mode of transport that does not require anything other than human energy. There is also the option of working from home and telecommuting several days a week.Cutting down on long-distance travel would also help, most notably airplane flights, which are one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions and a source that arguably releases such emissions in the worst possible spot (higher in the atmosphere). Flights are also one of the few sources of globe-warming pollution for which there isn't already a viable alternative: jets rely on kerosene, because it packs the most energy per pound, allowing them to travel far and fast, yet it takes roughly 10 gallons of oil to make one gallon of JetA fuel. Restricting flying to only critical, long-distance trips—in many parts of the world, trains can replace planes for short- to medium-distance trips—would help curb airplane emissions.Consume Less—The easiest way to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions is simply to buy less stuff. Whether by forgoing an automobile or employing a reusable grocery sack, cutting back on consumption results in fewer fossil fuels being burned to extract, produce and ship products around the globe.Think green when making purchases. For instance, if you are in the market for a new car, buy one that will last the longest and have the least impact on the environment. Thus, a used vehicle with a hybrid engine offers superior fuel efficiency over the long haul while saving the environmental impact of new car manufacture.Paradoxically, when purchasing essentials, such as groceries, buying in bulk can reduce the amount of packaging—plastic wrapping, cardboard boxes and other unnecessary materials. Sometimes buying more means consuming less.Be Efficient—A potentially simpler and even bigger impact can be made by doing more with less. Citizens of many developed countries are profligate wasters of energy, whether by speeding in a gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicle or leaving the lights on when not in a room.Good driving—and good car maintenance, such as making sure tires are properly inflated—can limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from a vehicle and, perhaps more importantly, lower the frequency of payment at the pump.Similarly, employing more efficient refrigerators, air conditioners and other appliances, such as those rated highly under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program, can cut electric bills while something as simple as weatherproofing the windows of a home can reduce heating and cooling bills. Such efforts can also be usefully employed at work, whether that means installing more efficient turbines at the power plant or turning the lights off when you leave the office.Eat Smart, Go Vegetarian?—Corn grown in the U.S. requires barrels of oil for the fertilizer to grow it and the diesel fuel to harvest and transport it. Some grocery stores stock organic produce that do not require such fertilizers, but it is often shipped from halfway across the globe. And meat, whether beef, chicken or pork, requires pounds of feed to produce a pound of protein.Choosing food items that balance nutrition, taste and ecological impact is no easy task. Foodstuffs often bear some nutritional information, but there is little to reveal how far a head of lettuce, for example, has traveled.SEE ALSO:Evolution: What Siberian Burials Reveal about the Relationship between Humans and Dogs | Health: The Conflicted History of Alcohol in Western Civilization | Mind & Brain: Nail Biting May Arise from Perfectionism | Space: Pluto Lover Alan Stern Discusses Historic July Flyby [Q&A] | Technology: Timeline: The Amazing Multimillion-Year History of Processed Food | More Science: The Flavor ConnectionUniversity of Chicago researchers estimate that each meat-eating American produces 1.5 tons more greenhouse gases through their food choice than do their vegetarian peers. It would also take far less land to grow the crops necessary to feed humans than livestock, allowing more room for planting trees.Stop Cutting Down Trees—Every year, 33 million acres of forests are cut down. Timber harvesting in the tropics alone contributes 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere. That represents 20 percent of human-made greenhouse gas emissions and a source that could be avoided relatively easily.Improved agricultural practices along with paper recycling and forest management—balancing the amount of wood taken out with the amount of new trees growing—could quickly eliminate this significant chunk of emissions.And when purchasing wood products, such as furniture or flooring, buy used goods or, failing that, wood certified to have been sustainably harvested. The Amazon and other forests are not just the lungs of the earth, they may also be humanity's best short-term hope for limiting climate change.Unplug—Believe it or not, U.S. citizens spend more money on electricity to power devices when off than when on. Televisions, stereo equipment, computers, battery chargers and a host of other gadgets and appliances consume more energy when seemingly switched off, so unplug them instead.Purchasing energy-efficient gadgets can also save both energy and money—and thus prevent more greenhouse gas emissions. To take but one example, efficient battery chargers could save more than one billion kilowatt-hours of electricity—$100 million at today's electricity prices—and thus prevent the release of more than one million metric tons of greenhouse gases.Swapping old incandescent lightbulbs for more efficient replacements, such as compact fluorescents (warning: these lightbulbs contain mercury and must be properly disposed of at the end of their long life), would save billions of kilowatt-hours. In fact, according to the EPA, replacing just one incandescent lightbulb in every American home would save enough energy to provide electricity to three million American homes.One Child—There are at least 6.6 billion people living today, a number that is predicted by the United Nations to grow to at least nine billion by mid-century. The U.N. Environmental Program estimates that it requires 54 acres to sustain an average human being today—food, clothing and other resources extracted from the planet. Continuing such population growth seems unsustainable.Falling birth rates in some developed and developing countries (a significant portion of which are due to government-imposed limits on the number of children a couple can have) have begun to reduce or reverse the population explosion. It remains unclear how many people the planet can comfortably sustain, but it is clear that per capita energy consumption must go down if climate change is to be controlled.Ultimately, a one child per couple rule is not sustainable either and there is no perfect number for human population. But it is clear that more humans means more greenhouse gas emissions.Future Fuels—Replacing fossil fuels may prove the great challenge of the 21st century. Many contenders exist, ranging from ethanol derived from crops to hydrogen electrolyzed out of water, but all of them have some drawbacks, too, and none are immediately available at the scale needed.Biofuels can have a host of negative impacts, from driving up food prices to sucking up more energy than they produce. Hydrogen must be created, requiring either reforming natural gas or electricity to crack water molecules. Biodiesel hybrid electric vehicles (that can plug into the grid overnight) may offer the best transportation solution in the short term, given the energy density of diesel and the carbon neutral ramifications of fuel from plants as well as the emissions of electric engines. A recent study found that the present amount of electricity generation in the U.S. could provide enough energy for the country's entire fleet of automobiles to switch to plug-in hybrids, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the process.But plug-in hybrids would still rely on electricity, now predominantly generated by burning dirty coal. Massive investment in low-emission energy generation, whether solar-thermal power or nuclear fission, would be required to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And even more speculative energy sources—hyperefficient photovoltaic cells, solar energy stations in orbit or even fusion—may ultimately be required.The solutions above offer the outline of a plan to personally avoid contributing to global warming. But should such individual and national efforts fail, there is another, potentially desperate solution:Experiment Earth—Climate change represents humanity's first planetwide experiment. But, if all else fails, it may not be the last. So-called geoengineering, radical interventions to either block sunlight or reduce greenhouse gases, is a potential last resort for addressing the challenge of climate change.Among the ideas: releasing sulfate particles in the air to mimic the cooling effects of a massive volcanic eruption; placing millions of small mirrors or lenses in space to deflect sunlight; covering portions of the planet with reflective films to bounce sunlight back into space; fertilizing the oceans with iron or other nutrients to enable plankton to absorb more carbon; and increasing cloud cover or the reflectivity of clouds that already form.All may have unintended consequences, making the solution worse than the original problem. But it is clear that at least some form of geoengineering will likely be required: capturing carbon dioxide before it is released and storing it in some fashion, either deep beneath the earth, at the bottom of the ocean or in carbonate minerals. Such carbon capture and storage is critical to any serious effort to combat climate change.

10 Solutions for Climate Change

What is Climate Change ?

Most climate scientists agree the main cause of the current global warming trend is human expansion of the "greenhouse effect"1 — warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space.Certain gases in the atmosphere block heat from escaping. Long-lived gases that remain semi-permanently in the atmosphere and do not respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are described as "forcing" climate change. Gases, such as water vapor, which respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are seen as "feedbacks."Gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect include: LinkWater vapor. The most abundant greenhouse gas, but importantly, it acts as a feedback to the climate. Water vapor increases as the Earth's atmosphere warms, but so does the possibility of clouds and precipitation, making these some of the most important feedback mechanisms to the greenhouse effect.Carbon dioxide (CO2). A minor but very important component of the atmosphere, carbon dioxide is released through natural processes such as respiration and volcano eruptions and through human activities such as deforestation, land use changes, and burning fossil fuels. Humans have increased atmospheric CO2 concentration by a third since the Industrial Revolution began. This is the most important long-lived "forcing" of climate change.Methane. A hydrocarbon gas produced both through natural sources and human activities, including the decomposition of wastes in landfills, agriculture, and especially rice cultivation, as well as ruminant digestion and manure management associated with domestic livestock. On a molecule-for-molecule basis, methane is a far more active greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but also one which is much less abundant in the atmosphere.Nitrous oxide. A powerful greenhouse gas produced by soil cultivation practices, especially the use of commercial and organic fertilizers, fossil fuel combustion, nitric acid production, and biomass burning.Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Synthetic compounds entirely of industrial origin used in a number of applications, but now largely regulated in production and release to the atmosphere by international agreement for their ability to contribute to destruction of the ozone layer. They are also greenhouse gases.Not enough greenhouse effect: The planet Mars has a very thin atmosphere, nearly all carbon dioxide. Because of the low atmospheric pressure, and with little to no methane or water vapor to reinforce the weak greenhouse effect, Mars has a largely frozen surface that shows no evidence of life.Not enough greenhouse effect: The planet Mars has a very thin atmosphere, nearly all carbon dioxide. Because of the low atmospheric pressure, and with little to no methane or water vapor to reinforce the weak greenhouse effect, Mars has a largely frozen surface that shows no evidence of life.Too much greenhouse effect: The atmosphere of Venus, like Mars, is nearly all carbon dioxide. But Venus has about 300 times as much carbon dioxide in its atmosphere as Earth and Mars do, producing a runaway greenhouse effect and a surface temperature hot enough to melt lead.Too much greenhouse effect: The atmosphere of Venus, like Mars, is nearly all carbon dioxide. But Venus has about 300 times as much carbon dioxide in its atmosphere as Earth and Mars do, producing a runaway greenhouse effect and a surface temperature hot enough to melt lead.On Earth, human activities are changing the natural greenhouse. Over the last century the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil has increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). This happens because the coal or oil burning process combines carbon with oxygen in the air to make CO2. To a lesser extent, the clearing of land for agriculture, industry, and other human activities have increased concentrations of greenhouse gases.The consequences of changing the natural atmospheric greenhouse are difficult to predict, but certain effects seem likely:On average, Earth will become warmer. Some regions may welcome warmer temperatures, but others may not.Warmer conditions will probably lead to more evaporation and precipitation overall, but individual regions will vary, some becoming wetter and others dryer.A stronger greenhouse effect will warm the oceans and partially melt glaciers and other ice, increasing sea level. Ocean water also will expand if it warms, contributing further to sea level rise.Meanwhile, some crops and other plants may respond favorably to increased atmospheric CO2, growing more vigorously and using water more efficiently. At the same time, higher temperatures and shifting climate patterns may change the areas where crops grow best and affect the makeup of natural plant communities.The role of human activityIn its Fourth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 1,300 independent scientific experts from countries all over the world under the auspices of the United Nations, concluded there's a more than 90 percent probability that human activities over the past 250 years have warmed our planet.The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 379 parts per million in the last 150 years. The panel also concluded there's a better than 90 percent probability that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have caused much of the observed increase in Earth's temperatures over the past 50 years.They said the rate of increase in global warming due to these gases is very likely to be unprecedented within the past 10,000 years or more. The panel's full Summary for Policymakers report is online at http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf.Solar irradianceIt's reasonable to assume that changes in the sun's energy output would cause the climate to change, since the sun is the fundamental source of energy that drives our climate system.Indeed, studies show that solar variability has played a role in past climate changes. For example, a decrease in solar activity is thought to have triggered the Little Ice Age between approximately 1650 and 1850, when Greenland was largely cut off by ice from 1410 to the 1720s and glaciers advanced in the Alps.But several lines of evidence show that current global warming cannot be explained by changes in energy from the sun:Since 1750, the average amount of energy coming from the sun either remained constant or increased slightly.If the warming were caused by a more active sun, then scientists would expect to see warmer temperatures in all layers of the atmosphere. Instead, they have observed a cooling in the upper atmosphere, and a warming at the surface and in the lower parts of the atmosphere. That's because greenhouse gasses are trapping heat in the lower atmosphere.Climate models that include solar irradiance changes can’t reproduce the observed temperature trend over the past century or more without including a rise in greenhouse gases.

SPECIES SUSCEPTIBlETO CLIMATE CHANGE

3. Be greener at the officeIf you have a desk job, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your emissions while at work. The EPA advises:-- Set computers and other office equipment to power down during periods when you're not using them;-- Use Energy Star equipment;-- Recycle and reuse whenever possible;The David Suzuki Foundation, an environmental nonprofit organization, additionally recommends using video conferencing to reduce air travel for business.4. Reduce emissions in transitWhether it's taking a vacation or doing your daily commute, you can reduce your carbon footprint in simple ways that also save money. The EPA's recommendations include:-- Rely on public transportation, biking, walking, carpooling or telecommuting instead of driving;-- Use the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide to help you make an informed choice about buying a car;-- While driving, try not to do hard accelerations, don't spend more than 30 seconds idling, and go easy on the gas pedal and brakes;-- Make sure to regularly check your tire pressure.When you have to take an airplane, the David Suzuki Foundation recommends:-- When flying, consider packing lighter because less fuel is consumed with less weight on the plane;-- Fly during the day because night flights have a bigger impact on climate;-- Buy carbon offsets -- or credits -- to compensate for the emissions on your flight .5. Get involved and educate others about the big pictureYour green strategies in your daily life can have a small impact, but the whole planet has to be on board for dealing with climate change in order to instigate global effects. Even if everyone in the United States reduced their emissions, other countries that continue to dump carbon dioxide into the air would still contribute to warming temperatures and rising sea levels.Spread the word about climate change and educating people. The EPA recommends that students give presentations on climate change and encourage their institutions to increase energy efficiency.Find out if your community has a climate action plan. There may be ways you can contribute to local efforts to be greener and adapt to potential changes that a warming world would bring.Bottom line: Most of the public will never read the full National Climate Assessment, Shepherd said. But if you arm yourself with correct information, you can make informed choices that could affect your community and the planet at large.

Ways you can mitigate climate change


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