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Why we Need to Change How we Live to Combat Climate Change

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Unit 4 Essay

Beginning on November 30th, multiple of delegates from hundreds of countries gathered in Paris, France to discuss ways to combat climate change. Their goal was to avoid the global temperature from increasing 2 degrees Celsius, the point of no return. This means that countries need to cut back on carbon emissions, create sustainable transportation, and farming practices, as well as begin to make changes to create a sustainable lifestyle. Similarly, the global calculator has created scenarios for the user in which they can create ways to make a more sustainable future. This program allows the user to change lifestyle, technology, food, and fuels to discover ways to keep the global mean temperature below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. It is possible to keep the global temperature below two-degree Celsius, and by certain changes in lifestyle, fuel, and land usage, this goal is obtainable.

Currently, the globe is on a path of destruction. By 2100, the global temperature will increase somewhere between 2 and 6 degree Celsius, with a higher probability around 4 degree Celsius. This will not meet the current temperature goal of preventing the rise in the global temperature to stay below two degree Celsius/ Co2 will continue to increase to over 75 GTCO2 a year by 2050. Fossil fuels will continue to be the primary source of energy, and increase from 451 EJ to 751 EJ. It appears that if we continue of this path, that we will be substantially worse in regards to fossil fuel usage, carbon emissions and global temperature.

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If the focus is to increase the temperature by 1.5 degrees celsius by 2100, there must be multiple and slightly radical changes that take place in regards to changing lifestyle, technology, energy, land, food and demographics.

Lifestyle

For lifestyle changes, we took a large chunk of our changes to Diet and Homes. When it came to travel, we chose to make there be less cars on the road, more people per car, and people travel less in total as well. For Buildings, Products are to be set to last longer in lifespan and the number of appliances per home has decreased. The amount of heating and cooling you can use as also decreased per household. We also changed the Diet of the population. The amount of calories that are consumed per person has decreased, so has the amount of meat eaten, but the type of meat that is used has stayed constant. This method was all about efficiency and less about possibility. Realistically, it doesn’t seem probably that we would be able to get everyone on board with this idea, but our main goal was to get the Carbon Emissions as low as we could. It seems like it is a really tough solution to fix this climate change and to get that perfect number and combination of variables that are still possible to obtain.

Technology

In regards to technology, the primary focus was to increase efficiency. For transportation, transportation efficiency was increased to level 3. This means there will be less fuel used for transportation, and more electric and hydrogen vehicles on the road. This is obtainable because many vehicles are already beginning to make a transition to be more efficient on the road. Building insulation, appliances and temperature was also increased to level 3. By conserving more energy, there would be less energy wasted. For manufacturing, all categories aside from chemicals would move to level 3. This would mean there is more recycling of materials with less waste going to landfills or polluting the environment. Lastly, carbon captures and storage was also increased so there were less emissions in the atmosphere. This may be slightly aggressive, but overall it would be incredibly beneficially to the environment and aid in conserving energy and recycling.

Energy

In regards to energy, our goal was to make energy more efficient, while switching away from fossil fuels. To begin, in regards to bioenergy, bioenergy solid or liquid will have to increase to level 3 meaning that the bioenergy will be mostly composed of liquids. This would mean that there would be an increase in renewable fuel with new technologies. Nuclear energy would also increase. While the storage of nuclear energy is not ideal, increasing nuclear energy was idealistic because more and more countries and states are turning to nuclear energy as energy sources because it does not produce greenhouse gas emissions. This is also a continual source of power whereas renewable energies could be intermittent. We also slightly decreased renewable energies (from 1.5 to 1), however increased storage from level 1.5 to level 3. Increasing storage allows for more energy capacity in batteries, or mechanically which saves energy. Decreasing renewable energy was not idea because there is still a need for fossil fuels, however overall the demand of fossil fuels was decreased and renewable energy increased from 2011 to 2050 by 300 EJ. Overall, this pathway in regards to energy is not ideal. There are more sustainable solutions for getting energy, and the continual reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear energy is not the answer. The focus for energy of the future needs to be on electric vehicles and renewable energy like solar and wind for a main source of electricity. However, to a certain degree, it was reassuring to see that if we do not focus on renewable energy, it is still possible to maintain a temperature around and below two degree Celsius. Overall, the number of variables under control was satisfying and obtainable.

Land and Food

The variables under the land and food section have the ability to influence the cumulative CO2 emissions to 2100. These sections under food include crop yields, livestock fed by grains, livestock fed by pasture and lastly waste and residues. We chose to seek very ambitious crop yield growths of about 60%. Having an increased crop yield would mean using less land to grow the same amount of food, in turn, that will take stress off of deforestation and the need for more food crop land. If the crop yield increases for grains and residues, there will be less land needed for animal feeder crops which are the most inefficient for the land. This leads to the next tab, which is livestock fed by intensive feed systems. The article global calculator suggested that these systems will be shifting towards developing countries in the future. For the global CO2 emissions, this means that the average feed conversion can increase in the future because of genetic and animal feed improvement. With an improvement in feed and genetics, that leads to less waste and residue on farms, which is the next variable. Reducing the amount of food waste could, according to the global calculator, “Improve how we treat food waste and agricultural residues produced on the farm.”(waste and residue i) If waste that is made after it leaves the farm can be generated or decreased, it will affect the environmental impact of food production. (waste and residue i) When crop yields are improved and waste decreased, it leaves more room for surplus land and land efficiency. With this comes the ability to have more forests and sustainable bioenergy. When all of these variables are taken into consideration, the cumulative global emissions can be decreased to a point of healthy sustainability of about 2 degrees by 2100 or less.

Demographics

As a group we decided to say in the demographics that the population will increase by two billion people for the next forty-five years having the carbon emission by person the minimal. If there is an increase of people let’s say up to five billion people more then the carbon emission by each person won’t increase but the amount of carbon emission will increase because each person adds on to the carbon emission which as a result makes this experiment not a success. In a personal perspective the amount of increase in population is way too low I believe that in forty-five years from now the population will increase by possible 3.5billion more than what it is now. But to make this carbon emission work let’s say policies in the entire world became as strict as countries in which you can’t have more than one baby in each family, then yes this actually could be more probable. Also in demographic we decided to keep urbanization the same because for the people who live in urban areas let’s say they are all middle class society; the only way in which the percentage will change is if culturally there is a change in people having the desire to move to country sites or better opportunity in other places that are not urban areas. In all I believe that urbanization in reality would actually stay the same and population will increase more than we said it will, but overall I’m satisfied with what we did in demographics because it is something that is very possible that in a near future maybe countries decide to do restriction with childbirth and urban areas the only thing that can basically change it society’s demand and culture, not something we can really predict.

In conclusion, if the focus is to increase the temperature by 1.5 degrees celsius by 2100, there must be multiple and slightly radical changes that take place in regards to changing lifestyle, technology, energy, land, food and demographics. After addressing these goals, it is clear to see that there are ways that we can change the impact we make on CO2 emissions, it is just a matter of deciding on which variables, hopefully all of them, can be improved.

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