James Hansen Why I must speak out about climate change Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. 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). Light bulbs may sound small, but they have a big impact; an overnight global transition to highly efficient LED lamps could avoid carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to displacing nearly 250 coal-fired power plants. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening … 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. Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. These commitments -- in the billions of dollars -- are a major step to ensure we have continued breakthroughs and cost reduction in the future. The enormity of global warming can be daunting and dispiriting. 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. … 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. © 2021 Scientific American, a Division of Springer Nature America, Inc. Support our award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. 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). 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. A few of the panelist from across the series told the Gazette why an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems is so critical. Electric grids are at capacity or overloaded, but power demands continue to rise. It poses a significant long-term threat that demands our collective action to prevent its root causes and cope with its impacts. Nadia Milad Issa, M.T.S. But implementing just a few of them could make a difference. The global momentum to tackle climate change has never been stronger. Climate change is both a global problem and a local problem, and its impacts have implications for and interact with nearly every sector of human activity, including energy and food production, water and other natural resources, human health, business and industrial activities, and, in turn, political stability and international security. 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. Choosing food items that balance nutrition, taste and ecological impact is no easy task. Paradoxically, when purchasing essentials, such as groceries, buying in bulk can reduce the amount of packaging—plastic wrapping, cardboard boxes and other unnecessary materials. Global climate change may be the biggest challenge facing humanity, and it is a problem that illustrates the world-changing implications of interdisciplinary problem-solving. The calculations contribute both to an understanding of observed properties and the exploration of how the climate will change … in many ways, this is because climate change was originally communicated as a scientific problem. Then it unraveled. This important meeting will serve as a key milestone in our work after Paris to help countries reach their climate goals. Some grocery stores stock organic produce that do not require such fertilizers, but it is often shipped from halfway across the globe. Let’s make sure we’re committed to what lies beyond Paris. But it doesn't have to be that way. Our mission: Secure an ambitious global agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and minimize climate change. Discover world-changing science. University 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. Some you may already be doing or absolutely abhor. But plug-in hybrids would still rely on electricity, now predominantly generated by burning dirty coal. To that end, next year, the United States will host the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in June. Not all are right for everybody. Confronting Climate Change Climate change is exacerbating many of the environment issues we currently face. What are the alternatives? All may have unintended consequences, making the solution worse than the original problem. If there ever was a problem that’s hard to solve, it’s climate change. 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. There is also the option of working from home and telecommuting several days a week. We need to rapidly accelerate the pace of innovation to meet the challenge of limiting global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius. 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. James Osborne Dec. 10, 2020 Updated: Dec. 10, 2020 3:35 p.m. There are a number of ways climate change may contribute to drought. World leaders are gathering in Paris this week for the 21st United Nations climate conference, known as COP21. I believe that clean energy innovation is the solution to climate change. Changing how industries are run or subsidised doesn’t sound like anything I can influence... can I? Ten possibilities for staving off catastrophic climate change. And bad roads can lower the fuel economy of even the most efficient vehicle. 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. NASA should be allowed to open its facilities and … : Premium Gasoline Delivers Premium Benefits to Your Car. 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. Climate change in Africa is an increasingly serious threat for Africans as Africa is among the most vulnerable continents to climate change. This group is dedicated to advancing clean energy around the world. 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. What can one person, or even one nation, do on their own to slow and reverse climate change? We’re also seeking innovative ways to solve current problems and prevent new threats from emerging. Stop Cutting Down Trees—Every year, 33 million acres of forests are cut down. This is significant progress, but it is not enough to meet our long-term climate goals. This initiative, called Mission Innovation, seeks to ensure continued improvements in energy technology decades down the road. 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). Such carbon capture and storage is critical to any serious effort to combat climate change. Subscribers get more award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. Unplug—Believe it or not, U.S. citizens spend more money on electricity to power devices when off than when on. 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. The solutions above offer the outline of a plan to personally avoid contributing to global warming. And citizens of developing nations want and arguably deserve the same comforts, which are largely thanks to the energy stored in such fuels. Control Population: Yes, if the population is controlled, then climate change can also be controlled. Our mission: Secure an ambitious global agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and minimize climate change. World leaders are gathering in Paris this week for the 21st United Nations climate conference, known as COP21. Sometimes buying more means consuming less. Fixing problems related to climate change will likely require a wide range of solutions. Climate change is the disruption in the long-term seasonal weather patterns that are caused by global warming.As of August 2020, the average temperature has risen over 1 degree Celsius, or about 2 degrees Fahrenheit, since 1880. At the same time, the costs of today’s clean energy technologies have never been lower. Climate change increases the odds of worsening drought in many parts of the United States and the world in the decades ahead. But we don’t have the luxury of waiting for new technologies to emerge. ... brought … I will announce the host city and state on Tuesday, December 8. Explore our digital archive back to 1845, including articles by more than 150 Nobel Prize winners. Yet without an international deal that sets targets for all, no one nation can be certain that others will pull their weight. Read on to learn more about how we can beat climate change. 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. But should such individual and national efforts fail, there is another, potentially desperate solution: Experiment Earth—Climate change represents humanity's first planetwide experiment. Effects of Climate Change Climate change has affected many aspects of our planet. But we already have the answers, it’s just a question of making them happen. Bill Gates and dozens of the world’s most prominent investors committed to do the same through a parallel initiative called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. 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. complex, confusing, and at times contested scientific information The dramatic cost reduction shown in this graph is a direct result of technological innovations made possible by investments in research and development (R&D) 10, 20, even 30 years ago. 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’s easy to feel overwhelmed, that climate change is too big to solve. Take a look at the labels on your appliances, and never leave them on standby. It’s about ensuring energy security, expanding access to reliable and affordable energy, and spurring economic growth that creates jobs and protects the planet. 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. Be Efficient—A potentially simpler and even bigger impact can be made by doing more with less. 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. For all of that, we need innovation. 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. And when purchasing wood products, such as furniture or flooring, buy used goods or, failing that, wood certified to have been sustainably harvested. Consume Less—The easiest way to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions is simply to buy less stuff. This high-impact effort will launch a race to reach cumulative global sales of 10 billion high-efficiency, high-quality and affordable lighting products (such as LEDs) as quickly as possible. 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. Open NASA facilities to "green tech" companies. Getting 194 nations to agree on anything, let alone a re-tooling of the global energy system that drives economies, is fiendish. Fossil fuels need to be quickly replaced with cleaner, renewable energy like wind and solar power. 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. Solving climate change is about the human spirit and our ability to tackle shared challenges together. That is no coincidence. But with rich nations transfixed by the economic crisis, there's little appeti… Foodstuffs often bear some nutritional information, but there is little to reveal how far a head of lettuce, for example, has traveled. 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. 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. climate change is one of the most important issues on the global political and economic agenda, yet it has taken at least 20 years to become an international priority. 7 Ways Marketers Can Prioritize Climate Change Brands are in a powerful position to make an impact Marketers love solving problems, and there’s no bigger problem to solve than the climate. Forego Fossil Fuels—The first challenge is eliminating the burning of coal, oil and, eventually, natural gas. Purchasing energy-efficient gadgets can also save both energy and money—and thus prevent more greenhouse gas emissions. Put simply, we can’t beat climate change with only the technology we have today. It is the key to unlocking new technologies and low-cost clean energy breakthroughs we need to rapidly bend the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions. Developing countries contribute to a large share of pollution. Spirit and our ability to tackle shared challenges together need to rapidly accelerate the of. Also save both energy and money—and thus prevent more greenhouse gas emissions are not or! But power demands continue to rise, whether beef, chicken or pork requires. Fossil fuels need to further invest in low carbon transport solutions worsening drought in many ways, this is progress... 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