The industrial revolution began in the eighteenth century, and it has improved living standards. A lot of industrial manufacturing now pass through complex but swift processes. This enables mass production of fertilizers, refrigerants, medical drugs, laboratory chemicals, among others.
Artificial fertilizers add soil nutrients to plantations ensuring ample yield while refrigerants are charged in air conditioners, refrigerators and cooling systems. Medical drugs play a vital role in curing ailments, and chemicals are used in lab tests and manufacturing.
Some of these industrial products impact climate, though. Many of their manufacturing processes also pollute the air.
In the early years of industrialization, pioneers propelled engines with steam. Factory workers boiled water using wood charcoal to generate the steam. Later, industrialists discovered coal to be a more viable source of energy and dropped wood charcoal. Since then coal has been the longest serving non-renewable energy source.
There are many domestic and industrial uses of coal but its use as an energy source makes up the greatest percentage. In the US alone, around 56 percent of electricity is generated from burning coal.
To constantly generate electricity from burning coal, its mining must continue. This is also true for fertilizers, refrigerants, and chemicals. Stable supply requires continuous manufacture.
The upsurge of demand for these industrial products made manufacturing advancement go unchecked. Manufacturers focused on products’ value but failed to notice their side-effects.
Pollution in early years of industrialization was negligible compared to today. There were fewer industrialized nations, and manufacturing wasn’t extensive. Overtime percentage of Green House Gas emission increased. A typical example today is carbon dioxide emission at electricity generation stations. Coal burnt to generate electricity emits 37% of the total national CO2 emission in the US.
China and India are in the league of high carbon dioxide emitters.
Even Alexander Bell anticipated this industrial pollution more than a century ago.
Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants have High Global Warming Potential. If emitted to the atmosphere, remain there long enough to be well mixed. This means the amount of gas measured in the atmosphere is the same globally, regardless of the region emitting the highest. That’s one of the reasons environmental conservation is a global topic.
If pollution continues at the current rate, experts see 3.6 Degrees Fahrenheit increase in atmospheric temperature. At this point, there will be unpredictable weather conditions: Rise in sea levels, great floods, severe droughts, and disastrous hurricanes. Hurricane Katrina of New Orleans and Hurricane Sandy of East Coast would be dwarf adversities.
But all is not lost. Nations already intervened and formed agencies on national and international levels. Agency environment experts come up with the solutions for countering environmental degradation.
Nationally, the US has its Environmental Protection Agency. China has Ministry of Environmental Protection. And Kenya has National Environmental Management Authority. These are among other agencies in different countries.
On the international level, UNFCCC marshals member states of industrially developed nations to put in place treaties. United Nation Environment Program (UNEP) works with developing nations to put in practice workable environmental policies. The latest of UNFCCC’s footmark was in Marrakech, Morocco, and UNEP’s was in Kigali, Rwanda. In both meetings of member states, a framework on Global Warming mitigation strategies was the agenda.
These major treaties build on each other: Montreal, Kyoto, Marrakech, and Kigali. They are achievements made after acting on scientific research done by scientists from member states. Montreal and Kyoto Protocols phased out chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). Marrakech and Kigali Protocols are to phase out hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants.
97% of experts agree that climate-warming in the past century is as a result of human activities. So it’s in order to employ human effort to reverse the damage.
Far away in India, Asia, one environment-related research is scary. The Lancet, a medical journal, reports that polluted air kills two Indians every minute.
To turn around this dire global situation, all nations must implement mutually ratified treaties. At the conference of state parties, stakeholders engage in back and forth negotiations. Business persons on the deliberation table sacrifice to cede ground because climate change is a scientific fact. And their willingness to compromise is premised on that — factual findings.
Action on climate change has realized documented significant achievements. It’s, therefore, reckless for a public figure to allude that it’s The Chinese who cunningly created climate change concept, and then oversee scrubbing of the word “Science” off EPA pages.
It now remains to be seen who will be vindicated in the climate war. Will it be the proponents or opponents? Even so, the basic action climate advocates can take is to spread the awareness and share articles that enlighten on climate change.
Originally published at medium.com