Reason #6 to Care About Climate Change
It’s been too long since I’ve talked about climate change. I can’t keep up! Now that I’m back to writing, I
have many things to share, climate change related, and non-climate change related. But first, let’s talk
about carbon dioxide.
A few weeks ago, my mom picked up a special edition of Discover Magazine, focusing on the most
important science-related topics recently. My favorite article was “What Carbon Really Costs”. It was so
interesting to me, I started doing other research on the topic.
Technically, we’re talking about carbon dioxide. When fossil fuels are used for energy, they release
carbon. Carbon dioxide in the air contributes to the well-known greenhouse effect.
What is the greenhouse effect?
The NOAA has an educational section on their website for children. Because I wanted to know how
simply I could describe the greenhouse effect, I used this as a resource. The greenhouse effect, as
explained by the NOAA, is an increase in the average temperature of the earth, caused by infrared heat
being absorbed into gases, like carbon dioxide. The more carbon dioxide that’s in the air, the more the
temperature will rise.
How did this happen?
According to the article in Discover Magazine, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit 410 ppm (parts per
million), which is a 50% increase from pre-industrial levels, which once were at 310 ppm. Coal, oil, and
natural gases contribute to the rise of carbon dioxide levels. Carbon dioxide also enters the atmosphere
through waste, trees, wood products, and some chemical reactions. To remove carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere, it must be absorbed by plants to go through the carbon cycle.
How do we fix this?
We have unfortunately gotten ourselves into a hole we can’t easily get out of. The simplest solution
would be to plant more things that participate in the carbon cycle. But it’s not that easy. This process,
called carbon sequestration, is probably the most feasible way to combat the greenhouse effect, but it
would take a lot of work. Of course, every method to reducing the greenhouse effect will take a lot of
work. Reducing emissions would help, but only a very small amount.
If you’re interested in getting involved in reducing the greenhouse effect, I encourage you to do some
research on carbon sequestration and the importance of preserving forests. You can also learn more
about climate change on the NOAA website here.