Global warming. Everyone knows about it, although not everyone believes it. For those that think the earth is warming up and it's causing massive environmental changes they generally have one question. The question of how to solve global warming has been a concern for many people as the effects become more apparent with icebergs melting.
Scientists believe they found the solution on how to solve the global warming problem. But to understand the solution, we must first understand the problem.
Image by Todd Paris/AP. From NYDailyNews.com.
What is global warming?
For a quick explanation of climate change, the atmosphere is being loaded with several harmful greenhouse gasses, like methane. Methane is the potent greenhouse gas created when biological waste decays. It's often found around landfills.
The dangers of methane gas is that it's up to 25 times more harmful for global warming than carbon dioxide. As the dangers of methane gas increases, from landfills and the ocean floor, it raises the temperature of the atmosphere in the tropical regions.
In the last century, the temperature of our planet has risen uncommonly fast, about 1.2 to 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. The 10 hottest years in recorded history have occurred since 1990; 1998 was the hottest, 2005 was second. Many scientists believe that human activity is responsible for the recent trend upwards.
What is the solution for global warming?
Stop focusing on the main culprit in causing global warming and go after the quick fix. Does that make sense? Basically the main greenhouse gas that is causing global warming is carbon dioxide and that is the greenhouse gas that world leaders have worked the hardest in trying to control.
However, scientists are saying to concentrate on the more health hazardous greenhouse gasses, methane and soot. By focusing efforts on these instead of carbon dioxide we will make the biggest difference in overall global warming and give us more time to figure out how to stop all greenhouse gasses.
Two dozen scientists from around the world ran computer models of 400 different existing pollution control measures and came up with 14 methods that attack methane and soot. The idea has been around for more than a decade and the same authors worked on a United Nations report last year, but this new study is far more comprehensive.
All 14 methods — capturing methane from landfills and coal mines, cleaning up cook stoves and diesel engines, and changing agriculture techniques for rice paddies and manure collection — are being used efficiently in many places, but are not universally adopted, said the study's lead author, Drew Shindell of NASA.
If adopted more widely, the scientists calculate that would reduce projected global warming by 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius) by the year 2050. Without the measures, global average temperature is projected to rise nearly 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) in the next four decades. But controlling methane and soot, the increase is projected to be only 1.3 degrees (0.7 degrees Celsius). It also would increase annual yield of key crops worldwide by almost 150 million tons (135 million metric tons).
Conclusion: Is this a temporary fix?
Although this is a small fix for the present, it's a start. It makes sense to focus on the most harmful greenhouse gasses first, methane and soot, before concentrating on the carbon dioxide.
Scientists have high hopes that this will provide a quick fix to give the world time to fix the many environmental dangers that have become so engrained in society as a whole. Of course, it would be best if all the problems affecting climate change were done at the same time, this might make it seem more feasible for the world. Baby steps in the right direction are better than standing still with a problem.
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