Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, human activity has resulted in huge amounts of greenhouse gases, mainly in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, being pumped into our atmosphere. The result is called the 'greenhouse effect', which is a warming of the planet's surface. This warming is causing major changes in the Earth's climate. We are already seeing these changes in the form of:
Changes in precipitation patterns, along with an increase in heavy precipitation events.
Droughts and heat waves becoming more frequent, as global temperatures rise.
Hurricanes, that draw their energy from the oceans, becoming progressively more intense as ocean waters have warmed.
Rising sea levels, which are expected to rise 1-8 feet further by the year 2100.
There is no panacea for solving the climate crisis. The urgency of our worsening situation will require a range of actions that can and must be taken starting now. Among the most important are:
First and foremost, we need to cut the carbon emissions that are the main drivers of climate change. This will require a massive transformation in the way we produce and consume electricity. Nuclear and renewable power generation accounts for less than 40% of the total. The generation of electricity by wind and solar, accounting for only 14% of the total today, must be greatly accelerated.
Transportation accounts for approximately 28% of our greenhouse gas emissions. The production of electric vehicles, in the form of cars, trucks and buses (currently accounting for less than 1 percent of vehicles on the road) must be rapidly expanded.
To help the drive to reduce carbon emissions, we need the Federal government to institute a carbon tax, making the burning of fossil fuels more expensive while at the same time making non-carbon renewable forms of energy more competitive.
Just reducing emissions is not sufficient. We must take action to actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. One effective way to do that is to restore old forests and plant new ones.