Greenhouse Gases And Public Transportation: A Solution To Warming

2390 words - 10 pages

Greenhouse gases are a significant factor in global warming, a topic of great debate in America. A greenhouse gas, or GHG such as carbon dioxide, is a gas that is trapped in the atmosphere. They are key factors in the Greenhouse Effect, a warming process. Automobiles and transportation are one of the leading sources of GHG emissions following industrial production, both of which rely on the combustion of fossil fuels for power. Carbon dioxide is the main gas that is released from burning fossil fuels such as petroleum. The problem with gas emissions released by industrial production is hard to cap, however, the problem involving the amount of carbon emissions released can be ...view middle of the document...

The first is by natural processes, such as photosynthesis or respiration. To simplify, plants absorb CO2 from the Sun’s radiation and then release it as oxygen. Humans breathe in that oxygen and breathe out CO2 thus releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. Deforestation and forest fires are other natural processes of releasing CO2 into the air. When forests are cleared whether it is for land of logging, the CO2 that was stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere. Some scientists estimate that deforestation is one of leading causes for emissions in our atmosphere.
The second group is anthropogenic or human caused sources. Deforestation also falls into this category as well, when it is done for industrial purposes by people. The Environmental Protection Agency separates this into point sources and mobile sources. Point sources would be industrial production and power plants. Mobile sources include transportation but also items such as lawn mowers. Transportation and industrial production, however, are the two largest producers of emissions caused by humans. The combustion of fossil fuels (petroleum, coal, natural gas) is the largest source of CO2 emissions globally (environmental protection agency nd).
CO2 and the other GHGs are important in the issue of global warming because of a heating process called the greenhouse effect as can be seen in figure 1

Figure 1. The Greenhouse Effect. (coolmob.org)
This is a process in which the Sun’s radiation is absorbed by the GHGs and is then re-emitted back to the surface as heat. The trapped radiation or infrared heat causes further warming. The effects of warming can be seen in the polar ice caps which have melted causing a rise in sea levels. Glaciers and snow cover have significantly decreased.
Industrial production such as factories and power plants are the number one producer of CO2 emissions in the world. Unlike transportation there is no clear cut solution to this problem. Industrialization has brought the world to this point. If it were not for industry there would be no automobiles, no highways, and a significant decrease in the amount of jobs. The semi-solution to industrial burning is found in minor changes and maintenance. For instance, Japan and Sweden both inspect their industrial plants regularly to make sure that everything is running optimally and efficiently. In Sweden plants also provide incentives to their employees for these maintenance checks. Keeping a plant in optimal condition is sort of like changing the oil in a vehicle. The car will still run if someone neglects to change or add oil to it but it will not run smoothly. Further more neglecting to maintain a vehicle can result in increased and stronger emissions. The same thing happens with plants. They will still emit pollutants into the air but if the plant is kept in optimal condition, the amount and degree to which pollutants are released will be less.
Transportation is the second...

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