The Dire Need To Reverse Climate Change

With every passing day, we may be losing the battle for our survival. The signs of climate change and the impending crisis are becoming more and more obvious every year, and will only get worse from here. From here on, it may not be enough to just slowdown the carbon emission. We need to reverse the process of climate change.
The Dire Need to Reverse Climate Change
Source - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AGlobal_emissions_country_2015.png)

A Bomb About to Explode!

Once you reach dangerously close to a bomb that is about to explode, simply standing there will not protect you from the forthcoming catastrophe. The only way, if you wish to survive, is to run back and away from disaster. The same is true for climate change today.

We have now accumulated enough green house gases in our atmosphere to sustain the progress of further climate change. So even if we stop at the current level of green house gases, the result will be no different. The global warming will continue, and so will our story of

self destruction. The only way we can hope to avoid disaster is by reversing the accumulation of green house gases. That is the only way we can hope to reverse the process of global warming.

Need for Urgent Remedies

To understand what needs to be done, there is a need to look backwards, and understand as to how we have reached this point. For thousands of years, we have used wood as fuel. In case of wood, the carbon is derived from the atmosphere with the growth of the tree and goes back to atmosphere after the burning of wood.  Thus, the only carbon that goes to the atmosphere is the carbon that is derived from the atmosphere. However the same is not true of sequestered carbon that is stored below the surface as coal, petroleum and gas. However, during these millennia, petroleum and gas were unknown. Even though coal was not unknown, its mining and use were both limited and its effect on environment was not significant.

Since the advent of industrial revolution and the development of modern mining techniques, we have been using more and more fossil fuel. In the process, we have released millions of tonnes of sequestered carbon as carbon di oxide, carbon mono oxide and other green house gases. In a few centuries, we have released carbon that was fixed by nature over hundreds of thousands of years. This amount of carbon that is released in atmosphere is far more than the amount of carbon that can be fixed by the forests on this planet.

"The only way we may have a chance to survive is to reduce the fuel consumption, and aggressively increase the forest
cover on our planet. We need to do something that will add more carbon to the Earth's crust than is being added to the atmosphere."

By using fossil fuel at current levels, we will continue to add far more carbon to the atmosphere than can be fixed by the forests on this planet. It means that at current levels, we will continue to add more green-house gases, and thereby further aggravate the global warming in coming decades. It also means that if we wish to salvage the situation, merely preventing the rise of fuel consumption will not be enough. The only way we may have a chance to survive is to reduce the fuel consumption, and aggressively increase the forest cover on our planet. We need to do something that will add more carbon to the Earth's crust than is being added to the atmosphere.

The Enormity of the Challenge

This challenge is far great than we think it is, because to be able to do what is required, we need to control our own consumerism and energy-dependent life style, in addition to finding effective sources of energy. As far as technological breakthrough is concerned, perhaps our only real hope is solar energy, the only energy source that can fulfil all our needs. The major obstacle in use of solar energy is cost, because cost of solar energy is still nowhere near that of coal or gas. However, if one looks beyond the cost of exploration and mining of fossil fuels, and adds the cost of environmental damage that they are likely to cause, the fossil fuels will be far costlier than the price at which they are marketed today. This uncovered cost will have to be paid by our future generations, in terms of destruction of life and environment.

We have now reached a time bomb that cannot be overlooked or treated with half hearted measures. We cannot survive merely by preventing further increase of fuel consumption. We need a drastic response from our society to reverse the green house gas accumulation. This is the one truth from which we cannot escape any more.



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