What is the Greenhouse Effect? Does it cause Global Warming? Solutions pros, cons and simple.
Greenhouse gases naturally blanket the Earth’s atmosphere and keep the temperature at about 33 degrees Celsius warmer than it would be without them. This is called the Greenhouse Effect.
In the past century the Earth’s temperature has increased by .5 degrees Celsius. Many scientists believe that the increase in the Earth’s temperature is caused by increases in the
concentrations of the four main greenhouse gases.
Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorocarbons are the four main greenhouse gases. Some scientists fear that the climate changes over the past century signal the beginning of Global Warming. While other scientists argue that global warming is part of the Earth’s natural cycle. Presently, neither group of scientist can prove which theory is correct.
As a nation how can we slow down global warming? One way is renewable energy. Fossil fuels, mainly coal, oil and natural gas, supply most of the world’s energy. We must look to new sources of renewable energy.
Here are just a few solutions for producing cleaner energy.
Hydropower is currently supplying only six percent of the world’s energy. This renewable source is produced by hydraulic turbines that rotate with the force of rushing water. It
is one the cleanest and cheapest ways of producing energy. Unfortunately, hydro power can change the flow of rivers and increase sediment which in turn kills fish.
Denmark is currently the world leader in wind power. By 2030 they hope to produce fifty percent of Denmark’s energy with wind power. Wind power emits no greenhouse gases, but takes up large amounts of land. In order for it to be a reliable sourse of energy, scientist must develop better storage techniques. Some people are also concerned about noise pollution caused by the large windmills needed and the reliability of the wind.
Solar power uses photovoltaic cells to gather thermal energy from the sun. Passive solar cells could also be used to heat water, therefore replacing the need for hot water heaters. A single community could be powered by one field of photovoltaic cells. These cells do not emit any greenhouse gases, but are very expensive. More development is needed for this to be a
realistic energy sourse for the future.
What are some simple ways to reduce greenhouse gases in our homes and in our everyday lives?
Wash clothes only when you have a large load and in cold water. Think about an old-fashioned clothesline. But remember some residential areas have homeowner’s association that
may prevent homeowner from doing unsightly things, like hanging out laundry. Never run your dishwasher unless you have a full load and dry on cool cycle only. When your old light bulbs burn out replace them with energy smart fluorescent lights. They cost a little more but last up to five years or longer. Always be careful if one of these lights should break. Mercury vapor in the tube that is acted upon by a stream of electrons give these
bulbs their light. Mercury is a danger to humans.
In the late fall or early spring place a fan in your windows at night to pull in the cool air. This will keep your home cool for quit a while and reduce the time you have to run your air
conditioner. When using your AC place it on a higher temperture and use your ceiling fans to circulate cool air. Run all your errands at the same time or with a friend or neighbor. Carpool if possible to work. Some businesses have started a four day a week, ten hour work day to save energy. Just remember that whatever you do you are helping the planet. Because one thing is certain. We are emitting extremely high rates of greenhouse gases with only small signs of reduced emissions over the past few years.