It does not come as a major surprise that the worlds largest culprit per ca-pita for carbon emission is China. They do after all have the most citizens, creating the largest need for sources of power. Unfortunately through history, humans have identified coal power as the cheapest and most powerful source that can be used to power the needs and resources for humans. At the same time for being the cheapest power source which is very attractive to most countries and investors, it comes with major draw backs. Interesting about coal is that it is not even just the burning of the fossil fuel but also the mining of the material. When mining for the material massive pockets of methane are releases into the atmosphere adding to the overall process of carbon footprint into the atmosphere. Making it not only the burning but also the process of gathering that damages our environment.
With regards to China however, an interesting article written on July 2nd in Bloomberg highlights the amazing steps that they have taken to reduce their carbon emissions and footprint. The article sites that China may have peaked in regards to its carbon emission and that it has made enormous strides since 2016 to reduce its emissions. Their focus to stop it has been on “super emitting” industries to combat and stop the problem. Over these years they have risen as the main leader in “climate-change mitigation.” Overall, when looking at carbon dioxide and the major issues as well as solutions, China should be the major example investigated.
China’s Carbon Emissions May Have Peaked: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-02/china-s-carbon-emissions-may-have-peaked-as-climate-policy-bites
Although carbon dioxide emissions can, and are needed to increase plant and crop growth, emissions that are too high can decrease the nutritional value of crops. According to, PLOS Medicine, CO2 decreases the nutritional value of key staple crops, particularly rice and wheat, by lowering concentrations of protein, micronutrients, and B vitamins. Therefore, decreasing greenhouse gases could decrease 48.2% of negative health effects. Additionally, CO2 induced changes in plant chemistry will also have global consequences for all living things who consume plants, including us humans. Rising temperatures of 1 degree Celcius above pre-industrial levels are also expected to have a detrimental effect on crop growth due to increased intensity, duration, and frequency of heat waves.
This lack of nutrients from rising CO2 emission can lead to both malnutrition and can increase toxins in food. This is especially difficult because climate change and severe weather as a result can decrease food production to up to 21 to 35% of staple foods such as rice, soybeans, and wheat. In a study conducted in Japan, Australia, and the US, crops were grown in normal conditions and in experimental plots with CO2 enriched air. The current atmospheric CO2 level wis 400 parts per million. In the enriched plots, it was between 546 and 586 parts per million, “a level scientists expect the atmosphere to reach in four to six decades” (National Geographic). Results found a 9.3% drop in zinc level in wheat which led them to conclude that as CO2 increases, crop nutrients decrease. This result touches upon what is occurring now, and what can occur in the future. The article also touches upon how CO2 emissions peak in May every year, which is the a prime crop growing month. Even if we somehow figured out a way to stop carbon dioxide emission today, the damage already put into the atmosphere will affect us for years.
In the article, “Climate change: How do we know?”, the author discusses just how prominent of the effects of global warming are today, specifically the effects that CO2 has played in getting us to where we are. The overall warming trend of the planet has been due to the result of human activity over the past years, specifically the increase in the levels of greenhouse gases being released into the environment.
Greenhouse gases are those that are released into the environment and trap the heat radiated by the sun, causing the warming effect that has led to the intense climate change we are experiencing. One of these very effective greenhouse gases is Carbon Dioxide. As shown in the chart attached to this article, CO2 levels, in units of parts per million, have reached new and astonishing levels where our planet is currently. Prior to 1950, the highest the CO2 levels ever reached was around 300 parts/million. However, today levels have reached numbers as high as 400 parts/million.
Everyday effects of global warming have been seen in the global temperature rise, of approximately 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century. In addition, there is the warming oceans, the shrinking ice sheets, the glacial retreat, the decreased snow cover, the rise in sea level, and many others.
Overall, this increase in CO2 levels, along with other greenhouse gases, proves to be resulting in a number of detrimental effects to our planet.