Global warming is the increase of the earth’s average temperature. Some scientists have attributed the rise in temperature to an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, and nitrous oxide, which trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. These scientists are predicting that the change in climate is leading to a wide range of environmental issues, such as a decrease in the amount of ice on land and at sea, a longer growing season for plants, and a migration of arctic animals to cooler areas. Some of these Arctic animals may even face extinction. There are climate solutions that can be taken by individuals, companies, and countries to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere and thereby stop global warming.
Many climate solutions are easy to take on at a personal level. For example, individuals can simply check the tire pressure on their cars. Tires that are not inflated properly use more power to rotate and therefore use more gas. People can also change the light bulbs in their homes and replace them with an ENERGY STAR-qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs. These light bulbs last two times longer and use significantly less energy than traditional light bulbs. Although ENERGY STAR® was developed by the United States, there are many international partners of the ENERGY STAR® program, such as Canada, New Zealand, Taiwan, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, and the European Union.
Some climate solutions are simply decisions that are made by individuals as they do their weekly grocery shopping. For example, buying organic foods can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because there are not any pesticides or nitrogen fertilizers. In addition, a study completed by the Rodale Institute stated that organic soil absorbed more carbon from the atmosphere than non-organic soil did. The organic soil also contains glomalin, a microbe that keeps the carbon in the soil and out of the atmosphere.
Companies can also engage in climate solutions. For example, they can purchase energy-efficient equipment and install motion-sensors that activate office lighting. In addition, companies can use paper conservatively. A company could prevent carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere simply by using recycled paper.
One of the most interesting climate solutions revolves around the dress code of a company. Specifically, relaxed dress code can lower the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. By allowing employees to wear short-sleeve shirts instead of suits, offices are able to set the thermostat a little higher during the summer months.
Since global warming is considered by many people to be a global problem, many of the world’s countries are engaging in climate solutions, as well. For example, the United Kingdom has implemented measures such as a Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation which states that at least five percent of petrol and diesel must be a biofuel. They also have a Climate Change Levy that was created to make businesses more efficient by taxing their energy bills by about 15 percent.
The Chinese town of Dongtan depicts a new form of town, geared completely towards climate solutions. The town is built on one of China’s islands and will start with 10,000 residents. The residents will only drive hybrid cars or they will ride bikes on a network of bike paths across the island. The homes and businesses will be run by renewable power, such as solar and wind power. In addition, more than 50 percent of the island will be farmland so that food transportation will be minimal.