Monday, July 15, 2024

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Global Warming
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Farhad Tuhin.
Greenhouse gases naturally blanket the Earth and keep it about 33 degrees Celsius warmer than it would be without these gases in the atmosphere. Over the past century, the Earth’s temperature has increased by about 0.5 degrees Celsius and scientists believe this is because of an increase in concentration of the main greenhouse gases namely carbon dioxide (76%), methane (13%), nitrous oxide (6%), and fluorocarbons (5%). People are now calling this climate change over the past century the beginning of ‘Global Warming’. Fears are that if people keep on producing such gases at increasing rates, the results will be just negative in nature, such as more severe floods and droughts, increasing prevalence of insects, sea level rising, and Earth’s precipitation may be redistributed. These changes in the environment will most likely cause negative effects on society, such as lower health status and decreasing economic development.
The “greenhouse effect” is the heating of Earth due to the presence of greenhouse gases. Shorter-wavelength solar radiation from the sun passes through Earth’s atmosphere, then is absorbed by the Earth surface, causing it to warm. Part of the absorbed energy is then reradiated back to the atmosphere as long wave infrared radiation. Little of this long wave radiation escapes back into space; the radiation cannot pass through the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The greenhouse gases selectively transmit the infrared waves, trapping some and allowing some to pass through into space. The greenhouse gases then remit the absorbed waves and remits the waves downward, causing the lower atmosphere to warm.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless non-flammable gas and is the most prominent Greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere. CO2 producing culprits include power plants 33%, factories and home heating systems 33%, cars and trucks 22% and major transportation 12%. It is recycled through the atmosphere by the process of photosynthesis, which makes human life possible. Carbon Dioxide is emitted into the air as humans exhale, burn fossil fuels for energy, and deforest the planet. The U.S. continues to emit more than any other country in the world, accounting for 22.2% of all emissions. Other important CO2 emitters include China (18.4%), European Union (14.7%), Russia (5.6%), India (4.9%), Japan (4.6%), and Canada (2.3%).
We use coal, oil and natural gas to generate electricity, heat our homes, power our factories and run our cars. These fossil fuels contain carbon, and when they are burned, they combine with oxygen, forming carbon dioxide. Deforestation is another main producer of carbon dioxide. The World Energy Council reported that global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels were rising. The increase from developing countries was three times of that from developed countries. Middle East carbon dioxide emissions from burning of fossil fuels increased by 35%, Africa 12%, and Eastern Europe 75% from 1990 on ward.
Naturally, if there are more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the effect will be more significant and will raise the temperature of Earth more. The planet is heating up and the evidence suggests that human activities are having a significant impact. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded by consensus that “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” They project that global warming will have severe impacts on human health, natural ecosystems, agriculture, and coastal communities. This evidence supports the common belief that global warming is occurring due to the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and HFC.
There are many environmental problems coming from the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere. As Jeff Rubin of ABC NEWS reported, “Several signs indicate that we’ve begun changing Earth’s climate: increased water vapour in the atmosphere, glaciers and polar ice caps appear to be melting, floods and droughts are becoming more severe, and sea levels have risen, on average, between 4 and 10 inches since 1990”. Experts concur, “We are already beginning to see this (global warming) taking place — a lot more flooding, a lot more droughts”. Jerry Malham added, “By 2100, we might get a 2-foot sea level rise, but levels might continue to rise. This rise in sea level can increase the salinity of freshwater throughout the world, and cause coastal lands to be washed under the ocean. Warmer water and increased humidity may encourage tropical cyclones, and changing wave patterns could produce more tidal waves and strong beach erosion on the coasts.
Increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and global warming could also lead to more health concerns. A statement released from IPCC said, “Climate change is likely to have wide-ranging and mostly adverse impacts on human health, with significant loss of life.” As temperatures increase towards the poles, similar to farmland, insects and other pests migrate towards Earth’s poles. Some insects carry diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Thus, an increase in these particular insects and pests closer to the poles would result in an increase in these diseases. This could lead to 50 to 80 million additional cases of Malaria annually, a 10-15% increase. “Malaria and dengue fever are already beginning to spread pole wards”, said Jane Lubchenco (past president of American Association for the Advancement of Science).
The most obvious health effect is directly from the heat itself. With an increase in heat waves, there will be more people who will suffer from heatstroke, heart attacks and other ailments aggravated by the heat. Warming of the oceans could also promote toxic algae which can lead to cholera.
Global warming causes the oceans to warm and expand, inducing a rise in sea level. Eventually, the rising waters could take away land inhabited by people, forcing them to move. Dr. Robert Buddemieir of the Kansas Geological Survey (USA) said, “Bangladesh is massively populated, achingly poor, and something like a sixth of the country is going to go away”. Bangladesh cannot afford to build barriers to hold back the sea, so people would have to move inland, increasing the population density and leading to an increase in hunger and disease. Recently IPCC states that the atmospheric temperature will be increased by up to 2 degree Celsius in Bangladesh. he Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean have the same problem. They are a nation of 1190 islands with an average height of about 1.5 meters above sea level. If the sea level rises, more than 200,000 people will have to abandon their homes.
However, the world’s leading scientists project that during our children’s lifetimes global warming will raise the average temperature of the planet by 2 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit (1-3.5 degree Celsius). In contrast the Earth is only 5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit (3-6 degrees Celsius) warmer today than it was 10,000 years ago during the last ice age. Man-made global warming is occurring much faster now than at any other time in at least the last 10,000 years. The environment day’s slogan this year was ‘Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy’. Life and environment are intimately interrelated. This environment is the safeguard for all animals and plants. Therefore we should come together to save our environment by reducing the harmful green house gases.

The writer is a professional geologist.

Courtesy: The Daily Star (

Related News

Stakeholders on St. Martin’s demand stringent action against plastic pollution

Environment Desk : Stakeholders have stressed that raising awareness alone is not enough to tackle plastic pollution on the country’s only coral island, Saint Martins, and are advocating for restrictions on plastic use and penalties for non-compliance. At a panel discussion entitled “Plastic Free St Martins” on Wednesday, they called for strict limits on ... Read more

Amazon deforestation down by a third in 2023, says Brazilian government

Environment Desk : Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon fell by 33.6% in the first six months of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s term compared with the same period in 2022, the government says. Its suggests the rainforest shrank by 2,649 sq km this January-June, down from 3,988 sq km in those six months last ... Read more

Half of world’s largest lakes, reservoirs losing water, Study finds

News Desk : More than half of the world’s largest lakes and reservoirs have lost significant amounts of water over the last three decades, according to a new study, which pins the blame largely on climate change, intensifying concerns about water for agriculture, hydropower and human consumption. According to a team of international researchers, ... Read more

Waterways disappear as rivers die

World River Day today Rashad Ahamad Inland waterways, once the prime mode of transportation in Bangladesh, have declined fast as many rivers, canals, and other water bodies have disappeared in riverine Bangladesh over the past decades. Due to geographical location, inland waterways were the main mode of transportation in Bangladesh, a country part of the ... Read more

Chattogram city produces 249 tonnes of plastic waste every day

Will generate 428 tonnes by 2052 News Desk : Chattogram city produces 249 tonnes of plastic waste every single day — 56 percent of which remains uncollected and littered in the environment, according to a new study. “Of the plastic waste, the most are sachets, single-use utensils, and personal care items, ” the study ... Read more

Non-stop river pollution threatens water security

World Environment Day Non-stop river pollution threatens water security Laws, rules, HC directives go in vain Rashad Ahamad No pragmatic step is yet to be taken to protect the four rivers surrounding Dhaka even after declaring them ecologically critical 13 years ago. In September 2009, the Department of Environment declared the four rivers Ecologically Critical ... Read more

Air pollution takes 3 years off life in Bangladesh

Impact on life expectancy in Bangladesh worse than in India, Pakistan, Bhutan Mohammad Al-Masum Molla Air pollution cuts the average life expectancy of a person in Bangladesh by almost three years, said a global report. It is higher than in India, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. Nepal, with air pollution-linked life expectancy loss of 3.05 years, ... Read more

Rain at the summit of Greenland for the first time on record

Something extraordinary happened recently. On August 14, 2021, it rained at the highest point on the Greenland Ice Sheet for several hours — the first rainfall event in recorded history, and air temperatures remained above freezing for about nine hours. The record-breaking rain is the latest in a string of warning signs about how climate ... Read more

Emissions of CO2 driving rapid oceans ‘acid trip’

The world’s oceans are becoming acidic at an “unprecedented rate” and may be souring more rapidly than at any time in the past 300 million years. In their strongest statement yet on this issue, scientists say acidification could increase by 170% by 2100. They say that some 30% of ocean species are unlikely to survive ... Read more

Warming trees limit warming – a little

Warmer temperature prompts trees to release aerosols which in turn stimulate cloud formation. And that can help to cool the temperature, at least modestly. Trees may provide the Earth with a little shade from global warming – indirectly. European and Canadian researchers report that they have found what engineers like to call a negative feedback ... Read more

Evaluating services of forest

Biodiversity contributes considerably to economy and environment Dr. M. A. BASHAR In developing countries, the necessity of publicising services of forests is severely lacking. This sector must be given attention with special emphasis. The country like Bangladesh has to be very serious in all respects to understand and exercise the services offered by the forests. We ... Read more

What the outcome yields for Bangladesh?

Doha Climate Conference What the outcome yields for Bangladesh? Md. Mahfujur Rahman Thirty-seven industrialized countries had been accused of releasing Greenhouse gases in Kyoto Protocol under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Signatory members to the UNFCCC have been meeting annually in Conference of the Parties (COP) to assess progress in dealing with ... Read more

Down with the hills!

Probir Kumar Sarker Though Bangladesh is prominently a plain land, its Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Rangamati, Khagrachhari, Bandarban and Sylhet have hilly areas with forests and rich biodiversity. These areas are full of natural resources fulfilling needs of the people and other living species. But at present, the destruction of hills in every area has become ... Read more

A prerequisite for sustainable development

Natural Resource Governance A prerequisite for sustainable development Rukshana Sultana The constitution of Bangladesh — article 143– illustrates that all natural resources on land and underground minerals and other things of value underlying the ocean within the territorial waters, or the ocean over the continental shelf of Bangladesh, are the properties of Bangladesh. In general, ... Read more

Contemplating mitigation measures

Global Warming Contemplating mitigation measures Md. Atikur Rahman All things that make up the environment are interrelated. The way in which people, animals and plants are related to each other and to their surrounding is known as ecology. The ecosystem is a complex web that links animals, plants and every other life form in the ... Read more

Save Savar from further degradation

Probir Kumar Sarker Over the recent years, Savar is experiencing immense pressure of new industrial, commercial and residential establishments. But most of these have already been done or are underway indiscriminately haphazardly, and by violating the environmental laws and ignoring overall public convenience, not to speak of the care for future growth. It has been a ... Read more

Save Sonadia, save Sundarbans

Sourav Mahmud Sonadia Island is one of the biodiversity hotspot of Bangladesh. In 1995, the Government of Bangladesh included a provision for the declaration of Ecologically Critical Area (ECA) in the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act. Twelve sites are classified as ECAs and guidelines exist to control further damage to these areas. Sonadia is considered ecologically ... Read more

Ramsar Convention: Our obligation

Dr. M.A. Bashar It is learnt from newspapers very recently that in the Sundarbans area three large constructions will take place which are very dangerous and detrimental to normal functioning of the mangrove forest ecosystem. It means that the interactions between biotic and abiotic factors will be seriously hampered in the ecosystems conservation. The projects ... Read more

Legal response to loss and damage

Climate Change Legal response to loss and damage Hafijul Islam Khan The adverse impacts of climate change have continued to devastate the lives and livelihoods of millions of people and inflict large economic losses. According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there has been a global increase in weather ... Read more

Corals of St.Martin’s at stake

Global Warming and Over-Exploitation Corals of St.Martin’s at stake Dr. Anisuzzaman Khan Honey comb corals around Saint Martin’s island are under stress due to coral bleaching. While the COP 17 — UN climate convention — was being held in Durban of South Africa, a Nature Watch Team (NWT) of Ekattor Television watched that a noticeable ... Read more