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The Seven Biggest Contributors to Climate Change

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Climate Change Causes in Sierra de Barahuco, Dominican Republic
Climate Change Causes in Sierra de Barahuco, Dominican Republic

Climate change isn’t the work of one person over a short period of time, or even of a few people over decades.

Thanks to the concerted efforts of billions of people over the last couple hundred years, climate change has become a recordable phenomenon, about +0.74°C between 1906 and 2005. Interestingly, it’s not simply a matter of which nation is a world leader in industrialization. True, industrialization is generally accompanied by an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, which adds to the warming effect. On the other side of the coin is deforestation, which reduces the cooling effect.

In other words, the rich, industrialized nations, aren’t necessarily weighted with all the blame for climate change. According to research done at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, climate change is a complicated problem, involving greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide, and sulphate aerosols. Additionally, land use records over many decades, especially deforestation, has also had an impact on global warming.

The biggest offenders, the United States, China, Russia, Brazil, India, Germany, and the United Kingdom, account for +0.7°C of a total +0.74°C increase in global temperatures in the last century. The United States alone accounts for 22% of that increase. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as CO2 and CH4, among others, is certainly a step in the right direction, such as adopting more renewable energy and reducing automotive emissions, which will reduce the warming effect. At the same time, non-industrialized nations need to replant their forests, to increase the cooling effect.

Perhaps the biggest impact emerging economies and recently industrialized nations can do is to learn from the mistakes of their older neighbors. Sure, at the turn of the last century, coal was the only option but, today there are many options, some of which require zero fossil fuels and emit zero greenhouse gases. Looking into these clean energy technologies and managing to keep their forests up, even emerging economies can keep their climate change impact to a minimum.

Photo credit: ronsavage Foter.com CC BY-NC-SA

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1 COMMENT

  1. Hasn’t the earth been warming since the last ice age? What caused it to warm up? Was it the co2 in the air or was it the acidification of the oceans or was it something else? Evidence is that it happened without the input of mankind or any of his inventions. Just because you all of the sudden pay attention to something that’s happening does not make you the cause or the remedy of the event. Gravity existed long before anyone was around to give it a name and so has climate change. All things change especially the climate and we don’t have a real say in the outcome. In reality we are producing more carbon in our atmosphere however my question still stands and is “How much carbon are we sequestering at the same time? We all here about the millions and millions of tons of carbon produced every year but we never here about the billions of tons of carbon sequestered every year? Why? What is sequestered carbon? Sequestered carbon is just about everything from that oak coffee table in your living room to the 2x4s used in the construction of your home to the paper and asphalt shingles on the roof. Sequestered carbon is every paper product, every textile product such as cotton and flax etc, and so on. All plants and animals represent sequestered carbon while they are alive and some afterward when they are put to use. So with simple logic and because the math don’t lie lets compare real numbers with real numbers. Without comparing the carbon produced with the carbon sequestered and revealing the difference the science is hardly settled. Now that being said has the earth warmed .74 degrees over the last 100 years or so? Well yeah but how much has the population increased over the last 100 years? Body heat alone may be making the difference it’s a factor got to add it in. I jest. However there is a lot more going on than what mankind is doing that can influence climate change, all of our land masses are still moving, the moon is pulling away from the earth, our sun is getting older and larger, and the galaxy is still spinning. Here’s the real cause of climate change…. people, life, and existence. So you can advocate to remove any of the three but you will not stop climate change, you will however hear less about it. The climate changes daily from light to dark and from cold to hot and some times it rains and some times it snows. Humans have adapted to live in just about every climate situation there is on earth, have we lost our ability to adapt? Suddenly we are less than we were yesterday? People are indeed getting weaker and weaker and perhaps a bit duller however that is a choice or maybe a circumstance. Lets look at the facts and not hype.

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