09 Aug 4 Biggest Contributors to Climate Change: Hidden Factors No One Talks About
Before we could take any action against climate change, we might need to know the biggest contributors to climate change first, just like what people said, “know your enemy”. Most common reason is the excessive amount of carbon footprint and air pollutions that human produce, but surely these pollutions won’t just come out of thin air, there is a source. This article will try to explain the sources of these air pollutions, the contributors to climate change, in which some of them is perhaps an inseparable part of people’s life.
Industrial & Residential Fossil Fuel Use
Emission is when gas or radiation is discarded out of the use of fossil fuel, and it is the main driver of climate change. Heating and electric generating is one of the biggest contributors to climate change as we all utilize heat and electricity in our lives, running on fossil fuels. We use fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas to generate heat and electricity for residential areas and to power up factories. It won’t be surprising if fossil fuel has supplied around 80% of the world’s energy, truly the biggest contributors to climate change.
When fossil fuels are burned, it will emit large amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the air. These greenhouse gases will trap heat on the atmosphere, and will result in global warming. Average global temperature has reached 1°C, a small increase to 1.5°C will raise possibility of a further sea level rise, extreme weather, biodiversity loss and species extinction. Might as well add food scarcity, worsening health and poverty for millions of people worldwide, the biggest contributors to climate change, and human disaster.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed that emissions from fossil fuels are the biggest contributors to climate change. In 2018, 89% of global CO2 emissions came from fossil fueled industry. Fun fact, coal is the dirtiest of the fossil fuels and responsible for being the largest source of global temperature rise. A number of oil spills in recent years does not help the case as it leave a devastating impact on our ocean’s ecosystem. Natural gas believed to be a cleaner energy source than coal and oil, but the emissions is still there.
To know more about how exactly fossil fuels contributed to climate change, you can read: How Fossil Fuels Affect Climate Change, Can We Completely Stop Using Them Today?
Transportation Sourced Emissions
Driving and flying, these transportations is fueled by fossil fuels, and therefore it will leaves carbon footprint as it operates. Considering just how much cars are moving and planes are flying in a day, tell us that it is the biggest contributors to climate change. Transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel releases carbon dioxide (CO2), and other greenhouse gases like methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) into the atmosphere, making it warm, and resulting in changes to the climate we are already starting to see today.
In 2017, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation account for about 29% in the whole USA, making it the biggest contributors to climate change for the country. Because in a global scale, transportation accounts for between 15 and 20 percent of emissions each year, and USA managed to kick it up a notch. Becauce there was just too many transportations that helps to contribute to the number, motor vehicles are the leading cause, but beside that there is planes and cruise ships, create greater emissions per voyage.
Forests helps us to catch carbon emissions, as the photosynthesis process requires carbon and water. So if there is no forests, or if it’s decresing in number, it potentially become one of the biggest contributors to climate change. World Resources Institute (WRI) says that deforestation accounts for 5.7% of emissions linked to climate change. When trees are cut down, burned or allowed to rot, their stored carbon is released into the air as carbon dioxide. Perhaps it is difficult to prevent deforestation, as human strive for progress.
Deforestation occurred when forests are cleared to make way for the production of agricultural products and other human activities. It can also occurred by accident, natural or man-made. Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) analysis shows that a majority of tropical deforestation occurring today was to produce these four globally traded commodities: beef, soybeans, palm oil, and wood products. If this keeps up, droughts, and heatwaves are increasing in severity and frequency, and more carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
As we just mentioned above, some of deforestations happened to make a new land for agricultural productions, that makes agriculture indirectly become one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Agriculture contributes about 17% of greenhouse gas emissions directly through agricultural activities, and an additional 7-14% indirectly through land use changes. Agricultural GHG emissions are came from nitrous oxide emissions from soils, fertilisers, animal urine and poop from animals.
Fun fact, cattle’s fart contains methane gas, and a western cattle contribute about 120kg of methane in a year. Animal’s fart aside, it was the modern agriculture, food production and distribution that makes agriculture sector become one of the biggest contributors to climate change. A study from Dr. Rattan Lal, Professor of Soil Science at Ohio State University, has revealed that over the last 150 years, 476 billions of tonnes of carbon has been emitted from farmland soils due to inappropriate farming and animal breeding practices.