Your Climate Change Questions Answered

Written by Madison Savilow

 

It's hard to go a day without seeing news about climate change. Below are some of your climate change questions answered:

Why is climate change an important issue? 

  • According to the National Geographic Encyclopedia, “climate change is a long-term shift in global or regional climate patterns. Often climate change refers specifically to the rise in global temperatures from the mid-20th century to present.” 
  • Greenhouse gases emitted from human activities, like driving cars, heating and cooling houses, and industrial processes, cause the air in the atmosphere to heat up. 
  • This can cause melting ice and rising seas and extreme weather which results in damage to infrastructure, health degradation, and nature resource dependency.

Why focus on reducing carbon dioxide?

  • Greenhouse gases include Carbon Dioxides, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Sulphur Hexafluoride, Perfluorocarbons, Hydrofluorocarbons.
  • Other than chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which are now banned, methane has the great warming effect. Methane has a warming effect that is approximately 100 times greater than carbon dioxide. However, its lifetime in the atmosphere is much shorter, lasting only about a decade while carbon dioxide will stay in the atmosphere for centuries. To read more about greenhouse gases, read this article by Phys Org.

If industry is responsible for climate change, why are industrial solutions a good candidate to solve climate change? 

  • Both natural and industrial climate solutions are necessary to mitigate climate change.
  • While a transition to renewable energy is imperative and natural solutions need to be a focal point of avoiding disastrous impacts of climate change, industrial solutions are necessary while the world is reliant on fossil fuels. This limits the amount of CO2 being released into the atmosphere from industrial sources.
  • While tree planting and natural solutions are some of the most efficient climate solutions, life cycle assessments of natural solutions can be difficult to verify and these solutions can take years to mature and reach the full potential of carbon sequestration, excluding the risk of industrial deforestation and fires.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) an extra 1bn hectares (2.4bn acres) of trees would be needed to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C by 2050. However, a study published in Science found that the world could support an extra 0.9bn hectares (2.22bn acres) of tree cover, excluding existing trees, farmland and urban areas. Industrial solutions are necessary to bridge this gap. This article by BBC is a particularly interesting read.
  • The IPCC reporting indicates a need for carbon capture, utilization, and storage because most scenarios include a period where global temperatures rise past 1.5 degrees and then fall back to that point by 2100. For more information, read this article about why the IPCC says CCUS is necessary to mitigate climate change.
  • For more information on current climate solutions, check out this page by Solar Impulse

Stay tuned for more articles about climate solutions!