My last few blog posts have focused on climate change vocabulary. In addition to understanding the terminology associated with climate change, it is important to understand the basic mechanism driving the phenomenon so that we can find ways to lessen the damaging impacts.
When we burn fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas, carbon dioxide is released to the atmosphere. These carbon dioxide emissions – along with other gases like water vapor and methane – act like a heat-trapping blanket surrounding the Earth, holding in heat from the sun that would otherwise escape. While we need some heat to remain in the atmosphere to keep temperatures within a livable range, continuous increases in carbon dioxide emissions have caused more heat to be trapped than normal. This excess heat is causing a rise in global land and ocean temperatures, and a destabilization of the Earth’s climate system.
The rise in temperature and changes in climate have serious impacts on the environment. It is easy to become bogged down in the bad news of climate change, but it is important to remember that there are actions to be taken at the individual, community, state and national level that can have a tangible impact on lowering carbon dioxide emissions.
One way for individuals to reduce their personal carbon dioxide emissions is to make energy-saving changes to their transportation habits by reducing individual car use. Did you know that gasoline and diesel fuel consumption in 2012 contributed nearly a third of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the United States? We are lucky that Columbus has multiple programs in place that provide alternative transportation options. Check out the links below to see if any of these options will work for you.
CoGo bike share: http://www.cogobikeshare.com/
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