What is the problem?
Fundamentally it boils down to the simple fact that the planet is getting hotter. That was simple!
What is the cause?
This is simple too. Atmosphere gasses are trapping too much heat, much like a greenhouse. The main gasses responsible for this are Carbon Dioxide and Methane. It is a problem in our era simply because we are burning ancient sources of energy, fossil fuels used to power our industry, cook our food, heat our homes and to travel to Spain for our holidays; producing enormous volumes of carbon dioxide. We are also adding methane to the atmosphere at the same time from industry, livestock farming and the melting permafrost in the Arctic.
The problem is one of balance the planet as a whole is releasing more greenhouse gasses than can be absorbed naturally in the forests, crops and the sea.
What are the implications?
- Extreme Weather - The higher the temperature the more moisture there is in the atmosphere, just visit a jungle to work that out. This produces greater atmospheric volatility and hence more extreme weather.
- Warmer Oceans - There is already and increase in the temperature of our oceans, this will kill some species for example corals and move other species as they migrate to cooler waters.
- Raising Sea Levels - The ice caps at the top an bottom of the planet are slowly but surely melting, this is raising sea levels and will make many of the plants coastal cities and low islands unliveable in the future and will drown a few.
- Loss of habitat - As higher temperature takes hold, desertification will increase, animals and humans alike will be forced to migrate, this is already happening.
- Starvation - There will be less land to use for agriculture to grow our food in the future, this is inevitable, and as the land is more aggressively used the less nutritional our food becomes.
What can be done?
To stop using fossil fuels overnight is impossible, if you stop to think for a minute about it, we would starve to death very quickly. This is because we are so reliant on these fuels to power our economies and agriculture. In fact, in no small part, the abundance of fossil fuels has allowed our population to expand enormously.
So here are our steps:-
- Renewable energies need to be encouraged.
- World wide the cost of fossil fuels needs, via taxation, to become more expensive than renewable options
- Aggressive development of Nuclear Fusion Energy (not the same as todays Nuclear power stations) and this energy needs to be cheaper than fossil.
- Development of technologies to capture atmospheric carbon dioxide.
- Add carbon capture technology to existing fossil power plants.
- Move to electric land transport, these emit about half the carbon of the internal combustion engine if they are charged by energy from the UK nation grid which uses 80% fossil fuels.