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Global Warming

The Beginning

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been raising. Today, it is a big concern with the amount of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. We are facing big consequences from the greenhouse gases polluting our planet. It does need to be stopped or life may not exist within time.

Information

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased dramatically since the invention of fuel for cars. In an engine, the fuel is combustive in oxygen and produces carbon dioxide as a waste. This contributes to the amount of CO2 in the air. Another contributor to greenhouse gases is the CFC’s in solvents and many other substances. CFC’s are able to break the ozone in the atmosphere which causes ‘holes’ in the atmosphere. That can cause an increase in temperature as holes in the atmosphere cannot protect life on earth from the radiation the sun emits. Carbon Monoxide is also a greenhouse gas but this causes acid rain. Acid rain can wear down buildings or even pollute the sea and rivers. These greenhouse gases have a major impact upon the Earth’s climate. Too much greenhouse gases can cause extreme weather patterns which can ruin crops and damage property or even worse, death.

Preventions

The Earth’s temperature is maintained at approx 14 degrees Celsius. This is due to the earth only losing 70% of its infra-red radiation while 30% is reflected back to the Earth’s surface. This keeps in the heat and causes temperatures to get warmer. This is a radiation window. The radiation window is made from a range of wavelengths where carbon dioxide doesn't absorb. As Carbon Dioxide absorbs IR between 12500nm and 17000nm and the H2O in the atmosphere absorbs the IR between 4500nm and 7000nm. The range between both molecules is 7000nm to 12500nm. This creates a ‘window’ that allows the infra-red with wavelengths between the range to leave the earth’s atmosphere. Many organisations such as Greenpeace and the European Union have helped to decrease the output of greenhouse gases. To help, the European Union has banned the use of CFC’s due to the ability to undergo free radical substitution; it is also listed as a substance of concern. Legislations have also been introduced to help companies with the matter; these are called environmental management systems. The legislations that have been enforced are: - The Clean Air Act - This prevents the lethal smog to reduce pollution and also moving power stations to the countryside. - The Control Of Pollution Act – This is to control the ingredients in fuel to reduce the pollution from the high demand of cars. Many of the legislations have worked and emissions are decreasing. The predicted temperature chance would increase by 1.5-2.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 if nothing is done to help with the greenhouse gases.

Research

Research from scientists is essential in finding alternative ways of energy without polluting the Earth leading to global warming. New improved ways of generating energy is the wind turbine. The wind Turbine emits no greenhouse gases when set up. It is very useful and this can help reduce the amount of power stations and increase a renewable source which doesn't pollute the Earth’s atmosphere. A disadvantage to wind turbines is that it can destroy natural beauty landscape and considered as noise pollution as they cause loud noises. Another renewable source is Solar Power. This uses the sun to produce a voltage and current, and this can be used to produce electricity to houses. Solar is renewable but it is also dependant on the weather. If there’s no sun, no current would be produced. Solar does not contribute to global warming as it does not give of any greenhouse gases. Nuclear energy is also a good way to produce electricity and doesn't give of any greenhouse gases. It uses nuclear substances which creates nuclear fission to produce large amounts of energy. There are issues with the concern about the nuclear waste being leaked or reactions becoming out of control as it can cause medical issues such as mutations, abnormalities or even cancers. Car companies have also adopted the use of electric motors or ‘electric engines’ in their product lines. This is an environmental management system in place. This will produce greenhouse gas emissions but H2O instead which does not harm the Earth’s ecosystems. Another advantage, that car manufactures use is the manufacture of ethanol from sugar cane. This produces fewer emissions than the burning of fossil fuels to produce ethanol. A Disadvantage is that less energy is produced during combustion. Therefore research has been undertaken to find out the alternatives of making energy to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels to produce energy.

Effects

There are effects and consequences of global warming! Global warming causes acid rain. Acid rain has the ability to destroy wildlife in seas and rivers and even forests. It can also cause acid erosion. It can turn soil acidic and trees or plants cannot grow in a particular place. Another effect is the sea level rising due to the ice caps melting. The heat which is warming up the earth is causing the ice caps to melt. Further research puts forward is that if CO2 emissions increase, the forest growth would increase due to increased photosynthesis which would remove some carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Although another suggestion is that increased temperatures can increase respiration rate which has the potential to increase carbon dioxide emissions which could lead to a ‘die-back’ of healthy growth. The responsible countries are in fact the rich countries. The emissions had risen at a 3.5% increase between 1990 and 1998. This problem is getting better due to the countries binding a contract to help lower their carbon dioxide emissions by certain amount of percent by 2020. The greenhouse gases have raised by 8% in 2010 compared to 1990. There are many solutions to solve the problems but more research will provide better and efficient ways of decreasing CO2 emissions and even reverse the damages global warming has caused.

The EU want to decrease Europe's emissions so that it is 20% lower that than of 1990's emissions. Can this be a success or will it fail? Time will tell.

Chemistry


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