Climate change is clearly the most evident snag that stands in front of us today. Our irrational use of natural resources is now paying off with new climate-related catastrophes every now and then. But the question that still stands tall is; even after knowing the problem why we are not trying to rectify it? With the calamities all around, do we still stand any chance to save our earth from falling apart; or is it already too late?
Climate change: the greatest threat to humanity today
It seems like for ages we have done nothing but just talk about climate changes. If we look at the data, global carbon emission has exponentially increased from 2000 to 2020. Every year some horrible record is broken like; August of 2020 is the hottest recorded summer; 2020 itself is likely to be one of the two hottest years in documented history.
From rasping heat waves, longer dry season, and melting glaciers to outrageous flood; cataclysm climate news has become relentlessly frequent than ever before. Climate change is indeed the greatest threat that humanity is facing today.
All and sundry knows that the main culprit behind the climate crisis is our enormous emission of carbon dioxide and green house gasses in the atmosphere. Despite knowing it, instead of reducing we are emitting more. In 2000 the global carbon emission was 24.6 billion tonnes; while in 2019 we have increased 50% of emission to about 37 billion tones.
Why is global Carbon dioxide emission rising and causing climate change?
The most conspicuous reason behind the surging global carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas footprint is the ever-expanding world population creating more demand for energy. According to the United Nations Division Population, the population of the world will keep increasing for decades and will shoot a peak in 2075 with 9.22 billion people. After that, the growth will slow down and by 2300 it will be 8.97 billion.
The more the population demands, the more the energy usage and more carbon dioxide adding to the already thick quilt. According to the United nation, the global population in 2100 will be about 11 billion i.e. 40% more than today’s population.
Controlling the growth in population will demand better healthcare facilities, investment in contraception, and education in all parts of the world. But practically, even if we succeed in delivering these essentials to every living being, it would take decades for the graph to fall. So, controlling the population might look like a good alternative but for the time being, it will keep surging, resulting in more CO2 to the atmospheres.
The problem is not just about population, the richer and developed we become, the more our demand for better facility increases. Data shows that the richest 1% of the population has twice the carbon footprint as half of the world’s poorest population that makes up 3.1 billion people. The growing global economy has to lead to an increase in emission and at the same time the most Extreme Poverty Ratio in recorded history.
Most of our energy demands today are served by fossil fuels. According to data from 2015, in the U.S. alone, 81% of the total energy used was produced by burning fossil fuels. We contingent too much on fossil fuels, from electricity to run our vehicles, to powering our industries; therefore poisoning our own environment.
Economic growth, therefore, is another strong cause of rising carbon dioxide emissions. The more the countries grow, the more the carbon footprint will increase. And in no time soon, it is going to come to a halt.
The actual demand for time is just obverse, with the blooming technology we should actually be decreasing carbon emission with time. But how can we achieve this shared goal?
Reversing climate change: the global shared goal
Efficient use of energy
We can shift to using efficient matters for energy production i.e. switching to conventional and eco-friendly ways to generate energy. The more efficient the technology will be the lesser the energy it will consume to generate power; like electrification of transportation and industrial sector and sustainable vitality production. Coming forward with new and efficient ways to produce energy is the most effortless way of decreasing world carbon dioxide dependency.
But increasing efficiency alone would not be enough because of many reasons. When things become efficient, it is consumed more and overall emission somewhat remains the same if not increases. With time, the return on investment of efficient energy production will slow down; as it will become harder and more expensive to get.
A way out
We need to switch from fossil fuel because it is the greatest hurdle that stands in the way of a zero-carbon world. It would not be possible to completely shut it down but with time we need to evolve. Today we have many other leverages that can be used for tackling this issue:
- We can switch to nuclear power plants.
- Cutting subsidies form the fossil fuel industry and avail them off to renewable energy sources.
- Increase carbon taxes perpetually to create stronger incentives for future industries to transition.
- Electrification of transportation and industries along with creating new and better technologies to meet the demand properly.
Every year we keep adding more carbon to our atmosphere, we are running out of time. We need to keep exploring new efficient ways while reducing the carbon emission. Neither the innovations nor the energy production methods we use today can stop and reverse climate change.
The entire world needs to come together and take collective steps to tackle this problem. Stoping and reversing climate change will with a shadow of doubt be complicated. It will not happen overnight, but with collective efforts, we can achieve our shared goal.