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Global warming is largely due to carbon emissions. Unfortunately, the modern global economy is heavily dependent on carbon fuels. For this reason, fighting global warming may seem like a waste of time. However, there are many ways to weaken its influence. Review your consumer habits and take a step towards saving energy and collaborating with other people to contribute to the fight against global warming. As a result, you will not only help save the planet, but also enjoy the enlightenment and change the situation for the better.
What do scientists say about this?
Those scientists who receive grants for the fight against CO2, of course, say that the greenhouse effect is caused precisely by CO2, and this is a threat to humanity. Those scientists who do not count on these grants speak of a pseudoscientific scam.
For many years, the former president of the US Academy of Sciences, Frederick Seitz, has drawn attention to the fact that all theories of global warming and ozone holes are far-fetched and do not correspond to reality, that they are anti-scientific theories. 17 thousand American scientists signed a petition. They agree with Seitz and believe that the agreement [1977 Kyoto Agreement] and the trends behind it are a genuine threat to humanity and a severe blow to its future.
As a result of a well-organized international political campaign, the leading countries of the world signed the Kyoto Protocol, calling for the reduction of atmospheric emissions of so-called "greenhouse gases", and most of all the main one - carbon dioxide. This protocol proceeds from the erroneous assumption that these gases supposedly lead to an increase in the greenhouse effect and a significant warming of the Earth’s climate.
Both of these materials and many other materials on climate skepticism (the movement of scientists refuting the doctrine of greenhouse global warming) are available on the Internet, so detailed arguments can be found. And we will try to understand the case of climate change and anthropogenic factor - greenhouse gases, in particular, with carbon dioxide - CO2, around which the Kyoto Protocol machine revolves.
Is there a greenhouse effect in the Earth’s atmosphere and by what gases is it caused?
The greenhouse effect exists. It is associated with the property of certain gases, in particular: water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and ozone (O3), to absorb infrared (thermal) radiation coming from a relatively warm surface of the planet, preventing it from scattering into relatively cold space. What greenhouse gases are present in significant quantities in the atmosphere? These are H2O (about 1 percent) and CO2 (about 0.04 percent). So: there is 25 times more water vapor than carbon dioxide. And no one argues that the greenhouse effect is created mainly by water vapor.
Why, then, not H2O, but CO2 became the greenhouse hero of the Kyoto Protocol?
An attempt to declare a global fight against water vapor emissions would look like idiocy, and even propaganda on TV would not help here. It is known that about a cubic kilometer of water per minute evaporates from the surface of the oceans. This is a billion tons (gigaton). Thus, 2.26 * 10 ^ 12 MJ (megajoules) of energy is transferred in the form of heat of vaporization: this is 1000 times more than the energy consumption of the entire human civilization in the same minute. An attempt by the UN climate bench to regulate H2O emissions would be commented on by Aesop's famous phrase: "Drink the sea, Xanthos."
Another thing is the regulation of CO2 emissions. The carbon cycle in nature is not as widely covered in textbooks and popular science literature as the water cycle. And therefore, you can feed the mass audience a pseudoscientific argument. Something like this:
- The industry burns coal and hydrocarbon fossil fuels, and the products of combustion emit into the atmosphere - already 30 billion tons of CO2 per year,
- Due to these emissions, the CO2 concentration increased from 0.02% to 0.04%,
- This reinforced the greenhouse effect. As a result, the average temperature of the Earth has increased by 0.74 degrees Celsius since the beginning of the 20th century (i.e., from the beginning of the intensive burning of fossil fuels - coal, oil and natural gas),
- If you do not reduce CO2 emissions (carbon emissions), then the temperature can rise by about 6 degrees by the end of the 21st century.
Why is global warming happening in the history of the earth?
There is a powerful regular factor - the flux of radiant energy from the Sun. According to a complex periodic law, it depends on:
- Sun activity (long-period fluctuations in the intensity of luminescence), of which the cycles of Gleisberg, Suess, and Hallstat (the duration of which are approximately 100, 200, and 2300 years, respectively),
- The orbital position of the Earth - periodic changes in the distance between the Sun and the Earth and changes in the angles of illumination due to the lunar-solar precession (Milankovitch cycles with periods of 10 thousand years, 26 thousand years and 93 thousand years).
There are irregular factors - eruptions of supervolcanoes and the fall of large asteroids. They cause emissions of fine dust, which for a long time remains in the upper layers of the atmosphere and shields sunlight. This mechanism on a relatively small time scale worked in 1816 (the so-called year without summer) after the Tambor eruption. Calculations of the possible cooling depth are known from the so-called. "Nuclear winter models."
These factors really determine the Earth’s climate, in particular, the average temperature. Now let's see what happens with the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. The solubility of gas (including carbon dioxide) is inversely proportional to temperature. This can be seen in a simple example - open a bottle of soda water taken from the refrigerator, or open a bottle that has been preheated.
The oceans are a kind of bottle in which 1.35 billion cubic kilometers of mineralized water are poured (or, in units of mass, 1.35 billion gigatons). A number of gases are dissolved in water. In particular, the mass of CO2 dissolved in the ocean exceeds 100 thousand gigatons. The mass of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 2 thousand gigatons (50-60 times less than in the ocean). During periods of constant average temperature on the planet, the equilibrium of atmospheric CO2 and CO2 dissolved in the ocean is established. With global cooling, the equilibrium shifts toward dissolved CO2. With global warming, the equilibrium shifts toward atmospheric CO2.
Imagine that humanity will uncontrollably burn carbon and hydrocarbon fuels, and quickly burn all its fossil resources, and against the backdrop of global warming caused by the primary (solar) factor. If in this way to add oil to the fire - what will happen to the climate? Is it possible to find out the result without delving deeply into numerical climate models? It turns out that it is possible, since in the history of the Earth there was a period when almost all of the CO2 that was accumulated in fossil fuel was in the atmosphere.
What can I do for this?
“There are many common sense-based measures,” says IPCC lead author and coordinator Aromar Revi, a specialist in urbanization and sustainable development.
“Citizens and consumers will be critical participants in the upcoming efforts to curb global warming,” he said.
Here are five things that everyone can change in their life today to make a feasible contribution to international efforts to curb the forces of nature.
1. Use public transport more often
The choice of vehicles in the city has a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions. You can opt out of your personal car in favor of walking, cycling or public transport.
Dr. Debra Roberts, one of the IPCC co-chairs, says: “If you haven’t developed public transport, you as an elector can intervene and give your vote to politicians who advocate for its development.”
If you have no choice but to use a car, choose electric cars, and go on long trips by train, not by plane.
Refuse the next business trip and replace it with a video conference.
2. Save energy
Dry laundry on a rope, not in an electric dryer.
Set the heating thermostat to a lower switch-on temperature.
Install thermal insulation in the attic and under the roof to reduce heat loss in winter.
Unplug electrical appliances that you don’t use.
Consider installing energy-efficient systems, such as a solar water heater.
These measures may seem trivial, but in fact they can save a lot of energy.
3. Reduce meat consumption
The production of meat entails significantly larger emissions of greenhouse gases than the production of chicken, the cultivation of vegetables, fruits and grain crops.
At the Paris Summit, 119 countries committed themselves to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector. However, it was not indicated exactly how they were going to achieve this goal.
But you personally can do a lot. Reduce meat consumption in favor of fruits and vegetables. If this is difficult to achieve, try not to eat meat once a week.
It is also necessary to reduce the consumption of dairy products, the production and transportation of which is accompanied by significant emissions of carbon dioxide.
Try to buy local and seasonal food and reduce the amount of food thrown away.
4. Dispose of waste, use recyclables, even water
We are constantly being told about the importance of collecting household waste. But the transportation and processing of such waste is accompanied by the release of a large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Recycling leads to reduced energy consumption, but it would be even better to reuse products or reduce consumption.
The same applies to water consumption.
"We need to save and regenerate water, while at the same time attracting more people to collect rainwater," says Aromar Revi.
5. Inform and train
It is necessary to disseminate as widely as possible knowledge about changes in the climate and what they bring with them.
Create community groups to implement sustainable local management practices.
Create interest groups for the joint operation of garden equipment.
"All these measures, if they are used by billions of people every day, will ensure sustainable development and will hardly affect the living standards of the population," said Aromar Revi.
1. What should humanity do first?
The main goal is to reduce the use of fossil fuels like oil, coal and natural gas, and replace them with renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources, while increasing energy efficiency.
“By the end of the next decade, we should cut CO 2 emissions by almost half (45%),” said Kimberly Nicholas, associate professor at the Center for Sustainable Development Studies at Lund University (LUCSUS) in Sweden.
The path to this goal provides for daily decisions, such as a partial refusal to travel by car and reduce the number of flights, the transition to a "green" energy supplier and some changes in the diet and choice of food products.
It seems that the problem of global warming will not disappear if a few conscious individuals start to buy organic products or ride a bicycle.
However, many experts agree that such decisions are important - they affect the behavior of our friends, forcing them to also change their lifestyle sooner or later.
Other changes include deep systemic transformations, like the modernization of subsidies for the energy and food industries, which still encourage the use of fossil fuels.
As well as the establishment of new rules and initiatives for industries such as agriculture, forestry and waste management.
One good example of the importance of this is with refrigerants.
An initiative group of researchers, businessmen, and NDOs called Drawdown found that eliminating hydrofluorocarbons (chemicals that are used in refrigerators and air conditioners) is an effective way to reduce harmful atmospheric emissions.
This is due to the fact that hydrofluorocarbons are 9,000 times more likely to affect warming than CO 2 emissions. Two years ago, 170 countries agreed to phase out the use of this agent from 2019 onwards.
2. How can I influence the changing methods of production and subsidizing industries?
Yes it is possible. Using our rights of citizens and consumers, we can exert pressure on the government and corporations and demand from them the necessary systemic changes.
Another way that universities, religious groups, and more recently, at the national level, began to use actively is the impact on financial institutions.
It provides for the abandonment of shares of fossil fuel producers or the neglect of banks that invest in industries with high levels of harmful emissions.
Having lost financial instruments related to the production of fossil fuels, organizations, on the one hand, take measures to climate change, and on the other - they get economic benefits.
3. And what, besides this, can be changed in your daily life?
A 2017 study, co-sponsored by Associate Professor Kimberly Nicholas, evaluated the effectiveness of 148 events that each individual can carry out daily.
In the first place was the refusal to travel by car.
Compared to walking, cycling or public transport, a car is much more polluting.
In industrialized countries, such as the EU, refusal to travel by car reduces CO 2 emissions by 2.5 tons - about a quarter of the average annual rate per person (9.2 tons), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development notes.
“We must choose more efficient vehicles and, if possible, switch to electric cars,” said Maria Virginia Vilarino, co-author of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
4. But aren't renewable energy sources too expensive?
In fact, renewable energy sources like wind and sun are becoming cheaper all over the world (although the final cost depends on local conditions).
A recent report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) found that some of the most common sources of energy, such as solar, geothermal, bioenergy, hydropower, and coastal winds, will be the same in price or cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020.
Some of them are already economically more profitable.
The cost of solar panels for utilities has decreased by 73% since 2010. Thus, solar energy has become the cheapest source of electricity for many households in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
In the UK, coastal wind and solar energy successfully compete with gas and by 2025 will become the cheapest source of electricity production.
Some critics argue that these prices do not include funds for integrating renewable energy sources into the electricity system - but recent evidence suggests that these costs are reasonably moderate and affordable overall.
5. Can I influence the situation by changing my diet?
This is an important factor. In fact, after fossil fuels, the food industry, and in particular the meat and dairy industry, is one of the main causes of climate change. If cattle were a separate state, it would become the third largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world after China and the United States.
The meat industry contributes to global warming in three main directions.
Firstly, the regurgitation that occurs in cows during the digestion process releases a lot of methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Secondly, feeding them corn and soy makes the process ineffective.
And finally, they also need a lot of water and fertilizers that emit greenhouse gases. As well as land, which is often obtained through deforestation - another reason for carbon emissions.
In fact, in order to change the situation, you do not need to immediately become a vegetarian or vegan.
It is enough to reduce the amount of meat consumption.
If animal protein in your diet is reduced by half, you can reduce your "carbon footprint" (an activity that leads to the emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere) by more than 40%.
A larger event would be something like refusing meat in office lunches, as WeWork did this year.
6. Do air travel really cause such damage?
The aircraft run on fossil fuels, and so far there is no effective alternative to this.
Although some attempts to use solar panels for long flights have been successful, it’s too early to talk about commercial solar powered flights.
According to a study by Kimberly Nicholas, a standard transatlantic flight in both directions causes emissions of about 1.6 tons of CO 2. This is equal to annual emissions per person in India.
And he emphasizes the inequality in the problem of climate change: although a relatively small number of people fly, and often this makes the number even smaller, everyone will suffer from environmental consequences.
Already there are many groups of scientists and members of the public who refuse to fly or at least reduce their number. The way out of the situation is virtual conferences and meetings, relaxing at local resorts and traveling by train instead of an airplane.
If you want to know the extent to which your flights affect climate change, use the calculator (in English), which was developed by researchers from the University of California at Berkeley.
7. Does it matter what I buy in stores?
Yes. Because almost everything that we buy causes emissions of harmful gases either at the production stage or during transportation.
For example, apparel production accounts for about 3% of global CO 2 emissions, mainly due to the use of energy in production. Fashion is changing rapidly, and the low quality of things contributes to the fact that we quickly throw away and buy new ones.
International transport of goods by sea or air is also harmful.
Products that are delivered from Chile and Australia to Europe, or vice versa, have more “food miles” (that is, a longer path “from field to table”), and therefore leave a greater carbon footprint than local products.
But this is not always the case, since growing non-seasonal vegetables and fruits in energy-intensive greenhouses also causes emissions into the atmosphere.
Best of all is seasonal food grown nearby. Although vegetarian food in terms of environmental friendliness still prevails.
8. Does the number of children in my family matter?
A Kimberly Nicholas study found that fewer children in a family contribute to lower emissions, reducing them by almost 60 tons annually. But this is a rather contradictory conclusion.
On the one hand, you are responsible for the climatic changes that your children's livelihoods will entail, and on the other, the birthplace of the children is of great importance.
If we are responsible for the environmental impact of our children, then are our parents responsible for our actions? But what about the right of every person to have children?
Perhaps the question should not be posed about the number of children, but about the education of the next generation of conscious and responsible people who can solve environmental problems.
These are complex, philosophical questions - and we will not try to answer them here.
Although the average vital activity of each person leads to about 5 tons of CO 2 emissions per year, in each country this number can differ markedly.
In developed countries, such as the USA and South Korea, average indicators will be higher - 16.5 and 11.5 tons per person, respectively. For comparison, in Pakistan and the Philippines - about 1 ton.
Even within a richer country, the class generates more emissions than people; they have less access to goods and services.
And consequently, in the question with children, it’s not about how many of them you have, but rather - what kind of income the family has and what kind of lifestyle it leads.
9. Well, I eat less meat and fly less, but others are not going to do it. So what's the difference?
Sociologists have found that when one person chooses a more ecological way of life, while others follow her example.
This is proved by the findings of four studies:
- Customers at an American cafe who said that 30% of Americans began to eat less meat were twice as likely to order a vegetarian dinner.
- In one online survey, half of the respondents said that they began to fly less after one of their friends refused to fly due to climate change.
- California residents were more likely to install solar panels, if there were any in their neighbors.
- Active community members could more easily convince people to install solar panels if they were standing in their homes.
- Sociologists explain this by the fact that we constantly compare our lifestyle with the actions of our environment and, based on them, we form our own coordinate system.
10. What should I do if I cannot reduce the number of flights or refuse a car?
If you can’t manage to change your lifestyle in any way, a contribution to a reliable environmental project can become an option.
This does not mean that in this way you relieve yourself of responsibility, but it gives you another way to compensate for the negative consequences of your activities on the planet.
The UN Climate Convention website has information on dozens of such projects around the world. And to find out how much emissions you should compensate, use the convenient calculator (in English).
Whether you are a farmer on a coffee plantation in Columbia or a landlord in California, climate change will affect your life.
But another thing is true: your actions will affect the planet in the coming decades, better or worse. You decide!
Carboniferous period of the Paleozoic era
Then, about 330 million years ago, after a long ice age, global warming began. The average temperature of the Earth rose to 20 Celsius (5 degrees higher than today). As in the experiment with a bottle of soda, CO2 began to flow from the ocean to the atmosphere, and its concentration increased from 0.02 percent to 0.4 percent (10 times higher than today). Due to increased evaporation from the surface of the oceans, the concentration of greenhouse H2O in the atmosphere increased. The strip of tropical climate has expanded. Plants, due to their high temperature, humidity, and high CO2 concentration, quickly produced biomass by photosynthesis. So CO2 was utilized, which then, during geological processes, turned from biomass to coal, oil and natural gas. By the way: many classes of plants and animals (in particular - land) that exist now, developed exactly then. In general: a celebration of life of 30 million years or so. No global flood or thermal apocalypse. Then, due to a change in the solar factor, a new glaciation came.
How will the increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere affect now? According to experimental data, a doubling of the current CO2 concentration will lead (on average) to accelerate the growth of biomass in plants with type C3 photosynthesis (most known plant species) by 41%, and in C4 (some herbaceous plants, including corn, sugarcane, millet ) - by 22%. Adding 300 ppm CO2 to the surrounding air will increase productivity in C3 plants by 49% and in C4 by 20%, in fruit trees and melons - by 24%, legumes - by 44%, root crops - by 48%, and vegetables - by 37%. From 1971 to 1990, amid a 9% increase in CO2 concentration, a 25-30% increase in biomass in European forests was noted
In general: even if humanity, amid a warming, quickly burns all available fossil fuel reserves, and the CO2 content in the atmosphere rises to the Late Paleozoic level, this will not lead to disaster anyway. So the theory on which the Kyoto Protocol is based is pseudoscientific from all sides.
In addition, it seems that this protocol relies on fake measurement data. In November 2009, unidentified individuals distributed an archive file via the Internet that contained information stolen from the climatology department of the University of East Anglia. This department is one of the three main climate data providers for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Large-scale distribution of the archive file began with a server in Tomsk. Correspondence showed that in the justifications of the Kyoto Protocol lies falsifications of the climate for about 20 years. Some quotes from there:
“I just used Mike’s trick from Nature magazine and added real temperatures to each row of values ... to hide the decline”
"It would be nice to try to limit the imaginary medieval warm period, although we do not yet have temperature reconstruction for the hemispheres for that time."
“It is a fact that we cannot explain the lack of warming at the moment and it is completely caricatured ... Our observation system is inadequate”
Why is all this necessary?
At the international level, a number of protocols are being signed that limit CO2 emissions to certain quotas and reduction commitments. Some entities that have surplus quotas may sell these quotas to other entities that burn so much that they do not have enough CO2 quotas. And an international fund is being created to finance the fight against CO2 on our planet. In particular, granting grants to scientists for the relevant science (see the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the Paris Protocol of 2015). Actually, this business process started in the 2000s. The volume of trade in CO2 quotas by 2010 reached $ 120 billion and continues to grow vigorously.
Price tag: Al Gore (US Vice President 1993-2001, central character in the fight against CO2, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize laureate for this fight) increased his personal fortune from $ 2 million to about $ 100 million.
At the same time, adherents of the Kyoto Protocol themselves do not believe in their CO2-greenhouse theory. If they really believed in the power of a greenhouse demon named CO2, then they obviously would have urged not to release this dangerous creature from the bowels of the Earth: to seal the mouths of oil and gas wells, to concrete torn shale seams, to close all coal mines and peat mines and globally switch to nuclear energy that does not emit CO2.
But we do not hear and do not see calls “Long live the peaceful atom” from commissions working on the Kyoto-Paris theme of combating the greenhouse effect. On the contrary, calls have been made from international environmental organizations to curtail nuclear power.
Of course, there are man-made environmental problems on Earth. The fact that this particular CO2 problem is fictitious does not negate real problems. For example, pollution of the oceans by oil products and plastic waste, local pollution of regions of extraction of fossil raw materials, destruction of local ecosystems during harvesting, and soil cultivation, etc. But it is more profitable and easier to deal with invented problems, rather than real ones.
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