This paper examines the concept of global warming with a focal point on car emissions. It is expected to aid policy makers in national governments, automobile manufacturers, fuel industry CEOs, and city planners. This paper is meant to ensure that authorities across the world, industries and members of the public jointly implement programs to reduce emissions from the private car and the generally public transport. The paper has examined various strategies and actions that work to reduce car use and emissions reduction.
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The paper concludes that there is a need to engage the different stakeholders in taming global warming. This paper suggests that to address global warming, public policies and action programs should be formulated and finally changes in behavior and financial assistance
There are definitions of terms associated with global warming. Air Pollution Costs implies the automobile atmospheric noxious wastes ‘injuries’, such as human health, ecological and esthetic degradation.
Tailpipe emissions are chemicals emitted directly from vehicle exhaust pipes. Lifecycle emissions encompass both tailpipe emissions and indirect emissions during the process of fuel extraction and in the refineries, as well as vehicle production facilities, and building of facilities for logistical purposes. Most of these sources contribute to climate change. Effects are abounding.
Global warming and the society
Car or automobile use has been blamed on climate change or global warming..Air pollution is also basically seen as an external effect of automobile use. Mobile (automobile) emissions are believed more difficult to control than other emissions sources, like power generation plants and industries, because they are many and scatter, and can cause more harm or destruction costs because cars are used closely by the people hence health effects are likely to be felt by them-climate Change.
Climate change (also called global warming and the greenhouse effect) means the alterations in climatic patterns as a result of the increased emissions of green house gases in the environment that increases the atmospheric temperatures (Anup Shah). Motor vehicles emit a range of dangerous discharge in the air. Some of the emissions are as a result of car use while others are a result of industrial activities.
These chemicals include; Carbon dioxide, Carbon monoxide, Fine particulates (PM10; PM2.5), Road dust (nontailpipe particulates), (CO), (CO2), Lead, Methane (CH4), Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and nitrous oxide (N2O), Ozone (O2), Sulfur oxides (SOx), VOC (volatile organic hydrocarbons), and Toxics (e.g. benzene).
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Some the effects of these pollutants are felt locally, therefore, when emissions happen, it affects the locals, but the rest are regional or global, and hence the location is immaterial to global warming.
In spite of the widely publicized impacts of climate change, some institutions believe the available facts are not conclusive or emission reduction financial overheads outweigh the perceived benefits (for instance, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change), these groups usually have no climatic or environmental grounding or expertise, and mostly speak for factories that reap from increased effects of global warming. The main scientific institutions deem man-made global warming as majorly critical.
According to a study by Environmental Defense, the U.S. automobile industry and light vehicles account for almost half of all greenhouse gases emitted by automobiles world wide. Also, the study entitled, Global Warming on the Road, established that the lead automobile manufactures—GM motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler—were responsible for almost three-quarters of the carbon dioxide emitted by cars and other vehicles on U.S. roads in 2004 (West n.d). The figures are as per the latest year for which these figures could be located.
According to the writer of the report, John DeCicco, reducing greenhouse gas discharge from the U.S. automobile industry is very important to any policy for curbing climate change. The report, further suggests that to deal with the problem of global warming, there is a need for a clear understanding of the sources of green house gases and how they are contributing to the problem. Car pool cannot work to combat global warming (Lallanilla)
Causes of Greenhouse Effect/global warming
Solar energy from the sun drives life on earth. Therefore, life is entirely dependent on energy from the sun. Nearly 30 percent of the sunrays that illuminates the Earth is diffracted by the outer atmosphere and reflected into the outer space. The other radiation strikes the earth’s surface and is reflected into the atmosphere as long wave radiation. These radiations carry less or slow energy with them.
The heat energy emitted by long wave radiation is absorbed by “greenhouse gases” like water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone, and methane, which prevents it from escaping into the outer space. Greenhouse gases account for only 1 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere; they play a great role in moderating the planet’s climate by trapping heat and maintaining it, thereby forming a warm-air mantle that encases the earth.
This occurrence is what scientists regard as global warming or the “greenhouse effect.” Scientists believe that greenhouse effect has contributed to stabilizing the average temperatures on the earth surface by nearly 30 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit), which is very too far from supporting the planets existing current flora and fauna (Shellenberger).
The link between human kind and the Greenhouse Effect/global warming
Global warming is an important ecological precondition for life on the planet Earth. In this case, the greenhouse effect is crucial for the survival of flora and fauna as aforementioned above.
Global warming is not always harmful to creatures on earth; woes only start if human activities alter and hasten the natural process by emitting ‘additional’ greenhouse gases in the environment than are required to warm the planet to a standard temperature. The relationship between mankind and global warming is that of causal-effect and effect causal. In other words, man contributes to global warming, and global warming contributes to mans environmental and health problems.
Man contributes to greenhouse effect /global warming in the following ways; firstly, Combustion of fossil fuel; man has continued to use natural gas, coal, and oil -including petrol for car engines-increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air or environment. Secondly, agricultural practices such as farming and land-use alterations have raised the amount of methane and nitrous oxide.
Thirdly, industrial activities, for example, a lot of industries emit industrial gases that do not break up easily and hence stay in the environment for many years. These are artificial gases produced by the man that are no naturally occurring in the ecosystem. These gases play a part in immensely in increasing the greenhouse effect and “global warming”. Fourthly, indiscriminate cutting down of trees, in the long run, may lead to global warming.
Trees take in carbon dioxide and exude oxygen, which gives rise to the most favorable gases in the atmosphere. Continued logging activities for wood or wood products, felling of trees to pave the way for farming, has left very few trees to perform this important role. Finally, rapid population growth is further contributing to global warming.
Simply, when many people make use of fossil fuels for energy, transportation, and production processes, the amount of greenhouse gases in the air keeps on rising. As more and more farming activities take place to produce food for billions of individuals who born day in day out, additional greenhouse gases go in the environment. Extra greenhouse gases imply extra long wave radiations confined and maintained, which slowly raises the temperature of the globe and the air in the lower layers of earth (Shellenberger)
The Average Global Temperature
Nowadays, it is believed that the planet’s temperature is rising at an extraordinary rate. To shed light on how fast global warming is taking place, mull over this observation made in the 20th century. It was discovered that the average world temperature rose by nearly 0.6 degrees Celsius (slightly above 1 degree Fahrenheit).
Applying, computer climatic methods, scientists, have approximated that by the year 2100 the average world temperature will rise by 1.4 degrees to 5.8 degrees Celsius (almost 2.5 degrees to 10.5 degrees Fahrenheit) (West n.d). However, some scientists disagree with this line of thinking. In spite of the many conventional scientists have the same opinion that global warming is a grave dilemma that is becoming progressively worse, some scientists oppose the view point or differ about global warming.
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One such scholar who ascribes to a dissimilar opinion is John Christy, a professor, and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. John Christy is an esteemed climatologist who claims that global warming should not send shivers across the world (Carey). Christy arrived at this view after examining millions of observations from weather satellites in an attempt to unearth world temperature pattern.
He discovered no indication of global warming in the satellite information and accepted as true that forecasts of global warming to the average of 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the 21st century are not correct. Scientists have come to a consensus that, just a slight rise in the earth temperature would contribute to a noteworthy climate and weather alterations. Firstly, it will negatively impact on cloud cover, precipitation, wind patterns, the frequency and severity of storms, and the period of seasons.
Secondly, increasing temperatures would lead to rising sea levels consequently, gradually slowing down supplies of fresh water because of increased flooding along coastlines globally and thus saline water making its way in the inland. Secondly, most of the planet’s endangered species would become disappear because of the increasing temperature that changes their home.
Thirdly, thousands of people also would be impacted negatively, mainly the poor people who live in dangerous environments or rely on the land for survival or their livelihoods. Fourthly, various vector-borne infections carried by animals or insects, like malaria, are predicted that will be experienced in places never experienced before as it is projected more and more areas will become warmer. These warm conditions are a favorable environment for the insects to thrive
Carbon Dioxide discharges are the greatest challenge
Today, carbon dioxide is responsible for over 60 percent of the artificial greenhouse effect caused by the rise in the levels of greenhouse gases, and the amount of carbon dioxide in the environment is rising by over 10% after every 20 years. With the current emissions of carbon dioxide expected to persist at that rate, it follows that the amount of the gas in the environment is likely to increase twofold, or perhaps increase three times today, compared to the amounts in the pre-industrial period.
Global warming is unavoidable
According to the United Nations, global warming is by now unavoidable because of discharge from industries that have happened since the emergence of the Industrial Revolution. It is hypothesized that the planets climate does not react fast to peripheral alterations; scores of scientists agree that global warming up to date has gained momentum because of the activities of over 15 decades of industrialization in various countries around the globe.
Consequently, climate change will keep on shaping life on the planet Earth for millions of years, albeit greenhouse gas releases are decreased and the rise in atmospheric amounts curbed. Mankind is, therefore endangered when it comes to effects of global warming on the survival of mankind.
Measures to reduce global warming include:
- 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle: people should minimize wastes by selecting reusable materials as opposed to those which can be discarded. They should purchase products with minimal packaging materials as this will assist in trimming down waste.
- Fewer Heat and Air Conditioning: the citizens should install insulation materials to their walls and attic, as well as weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows. This will go along way in reducing costs by over 25 percent, and also minimize the amount of energy. Simple practices like setting heat low while sleeping is also vital
- Substitute Bulbs: if possible, changing normal light bulbs with efficient fluorescent light (CFL) tubes can help to save power consumed. Using one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a CFL will cut costs by $30 for the entire lifespan of the florescent. CFLs are more durable compared to incandescent bulbs. For instance, in the U.S., if all families switched from the regular light bulb to a CFL, it is believed that it can help cut down greenhouse gases emissions by more 90 billion pounds, which is equal to removing 7.5 million cars off the road (West n.d).
- Driving effectively: Less driving implies less emission. A part from cutting cost on fuel, walking, and bicycle riding are vital ways of exercising. Individuals’ identification and knowing their community mass transit systems, and selecting alternatives such as carpooling to work. Citizens need to ensure that the tires as well inflated to ensure the car is operating on optimal. Walking does not necessarily reduce (Block 45).
- Purchase of Energy-Efficient cars and products: Inculcating the behavior of buying cars and home appliances that use energy effectively is very important. Awareness creation must be made to ensure citizens shun away from materials that have been packaged using excess materials and avoid the use of plastics that cannot be recycled.
In conclusion, to minimize some of the lasting impacts of global warming, many countries, societies and citizens are taking steps to minimize greenhouse gas releases and gradually reduce greenhouse effect by the diminishing over-reliance on fossil fuels, stepping up efforts the use of renewable energy sources, re-a forestation and a forestation programmes, and promoting sustainable development and lifestyles.
Taming global warming or greenhouse gases on the road is a collective responsibility. Every citizen all over the globe can aid to lessen the need for fossil fuels, eventually curbing global warming, by consuming energy efficiently (Anup n.d)