Trees are nature’s way of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Growing plants take up CO2 and store it in the form of their roots, stems and leaves. And in fact, a significant factor in the growing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been the extensive deforestation that has gone on over the past couple of centuries.
China and India have 36% of the world’s population and produce about 35% of global CO2 emissions, ranking first and third respectively in that category. The United States, with a little over 4% of the world’s population, produces about 16% of global CO2 emissions, good for second place.
There are many environmental problems associated with ruminant livestock and these problems continue to grow as the demand for meat-rich diets increases around the world. One of the biggest problems is that cows emit methane through eructation (or belching) as they chew their cud. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, some 25 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. More than a quarter of all human-originated methane going into the atmosphere comes from raising livestock.
Public opinion about global warming is an important influence on decision making about policies to combat global warming and to be prepared for its consequences. An extensive polling effort by Yale University has produced an estimate of public opinions down to state, congressional district, and county levels.
According to a new paper published in the journal Nature, global warming has damaged huge sections of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The authors of the paper warn that the resilience of the reef – which is the world’s largest living structure – is waning rapidly.
The federal government now appears to be headed down the path of not honoring America’s commitments to tackle global warming, but many of the country’s cities and states as well as its corporations have no intention of breaking our promises to the world.
This Saturday is Earth Day and it’s also the occasion for the March for Science taking place in Washington, DC and in many other cities around the world. The purpose is to express support for scientific research and evidence-based policies in a tumultuous political environment.
Most of the world has accepted the analysis of the overwhelming majority of climate scientists that shows that our planet is warming and that our actions are the primary cause. However, some people – notably a number holding high office – reject this analysis. What exactly does it imply to say that climate change is not happening or is not caused by us?
In 1988, President Reagan signed the Montreal Protocol, which banned CFC refrigerants like Freon in air conditioners and refrigerators. The chlorofluorocarbons were the cause of a giant hole in the ozone layer, which has been shrinking ever since the ban. Unfortunately, the chemicals that replaced CFCs – hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs – have their own major problem: they are a seriously bad greenhouse gas, far worse than carbon dioxide. Last fall, an international agreement was reached by over 170 countries to reduce and eventually replace HFCs, which included 100 developing countries like China and India where air conditioning use is growing fastest.
When we think of global climate change, what comes to mind? Rising seas? Melting glaciers? Shrinking sea ice? How about diminishing ocean oxygen levels?
Installations of solar power continue to increase rapidly around the world and in no place more than China. By the end of 2016, total solar generating capacity in China reached 77.4 gigawatts, making it the largest producer of solar energy in the world. Globally, there is a total of 228 gigawatts of solar power installed, although that number keeps changing rapidly.
Regardless of the new administration’s position on climate change, America’s corporations have assumed a leadership role in the country’s ability to meet and beat previous domestic climate pledges.
From melting Arctic ice to dying coral reefs to rising sea levels, there was no shortage of grim environmental news in 2016. But the news wasn’t all bad. There were several bright spots for the environment last year as well.
A year ago, nearly 200 countries signed an agreement, known as the Paris Accord, to fight climate change by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. They each promised to reduce their carbon output as soon as possible, and to do their best to keep global warming well below 2-degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
Climate change is posing a major threat to polar bear survival. The polar bear, whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle, depends on sea ice for nearly all of its life cycle functions. And rising temperatures are causing that sea ice to disappear.
We don’t experience climate; we experience weather. And a new study has found that what Americans believe about the changing climate often depends more on their personal experience than what is going on around the world.
China and the United States today produce nearly half of the world’s carbon emissions, so the fight against global climate change depends greatly upon what actions the two countries take. China has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past twenty years from a largely rural society to one that is far more urbanized and far more energy intensive. In 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol on climate was negotiated, China was only responsible for 14% of global CO2 emissions. It then surpassed the US on that front in less than 10 years and now accounts for nearly 30% of the world’s emissions.
Global climate change is typically referred to as global warming and that name implies that things are getting warmer all the time. Well, the planet as a whole is, as measured by the planet-wide mean temperature, which continues to rise over time.