Surviving the Climate Challenge
Climate change is already wreaking havoc on the planet, from hurricanes and melting polar ice to escalating food and water crises. And if we don’t tackle this challenge now, it will only get worse.
We must keep global warming below two degrees Celsius, which is a tipping point at which small changes have profound impacts on life as we know it. That means a rapid and deep reduction in emissions in all sectors.
1. Clean Energy
Survivors of the Climate Challenge need to rely less on fossil fuels and more on clean energy sources, like solar, wind, and geothermal power. These clean energy sources emit little or no greenhouse gases, and they can help to slow down the effects of climate change.
Using clean energy can also reduce air pollution, allowing us to breathe cleaner and healthier. It can also help to diversify our power supply, providing a reliable source of energy that reduces our dependence on imported fossil fuels and their associated costs.
Renewable energy — which includes renewable natural gas, electricity produced from solar and wind, and biomass — is a key part of the global transition to a low carbon future. More than one-third of the world’s installed power capacity is now powered by clean energy.
Water is one of the most important factors in the planet’s ecosystem and in our everyday lives. The impacts of climate change on water, like more floods, droughts, and shrinking ice fields, affect how we live, work, and build communities.
Water can be found in all three states of matter on Earth: solid ice (glaciers and snow) and liquid water (oceans, rivers, lakes, streams) as well as water vapor, which is a gas that fills the atmosphere. The path that water follows around Earth is called the water cycle.
Water molecules are polar, which means they carry both a negative charge at the oxygen end of the molecule and a positive charge at the hydrogen end. This means they attract other polar molecules. Water also has a high level of cohesion, which means it sticks together.
If you’re looking to cut down on your carbon footprint, consider adopting a sustainable diet. This means increasing your intake of plant-based foods like legumes, whole grains and vegetables to replace meat or dairy products.
According to the EAT-Lancet Commission, a shift in diets towards more plants would cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 5bn tonnes per year. It also could free up land to sequester more carbon, allowing more forests to be planted or to be used for other productive activities.
The impact of climate change is affecting all parts of the food chain, from farmers to consumers. Taking action to limit food waste throughout the supply chain can help reduce hunger and save energy and water.
4. Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency, a practice of eliminating waste, is the cheapest way to reduce our use of fossil fuels. It also lowers costs on a household and economy-wide level, as well as helps to increase our resilience to energy outages.
Energy-efficient buildings and appliances are often more cost-effective than non-efficient alternatives, and savings can add up over the service life of the product. Savings can also help offset the initial price premium that may apply to energy efficient products and equipment.
Many energy efficiency measures, such as appliance standards and performance standards for building materials, have been incorporated into national building codes to improve the overall quality and energy efficiency of buildings. These standards and programs have been proven to save consumers money and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the United States.
Transportation is the movement of passengers, goods, and information around a location. It is a social service that allows people to travel and interact with each other and the world at large, and it can also shape society and even a nation.
In the past, transport played a key role in economic growth and globalization. It is still an essential component of many economies, but it causes air pollution and uses a lot of land.
As climate change makes it increasingly difficult to move around, we are seeing increased use of public transportation and more bicycles and walking paths. A number of states and cities are working to reduce emissions by implementing climate-friendly policies and building clean energy infrastructure.