Is Global Warming Reversible?

Global warming has become a hot topic in the past 30 years since the US senate first talked about it in 1988. Many people agreed that climate change is an issue, but is it too late to reverse it? If not, what will it take to bring everything back to normal?
What is global warming?
According to the United Nations, Global warming is the long term shift in global temperature and weather patterns that generally trend towards climate getting hotter. Shifts in global temperatures could be a natural phenomenon, but since the start of the industrial revolution in the late eighteenth century, the rate at which global warming occurs has many scientists alarmed.
As stated by the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit organization that aims to end climate change, the temperature from 1880 to 1980 has risen two degrees, or .13 degrees per decade. In the last forty years since then, the rate of temperature change has more than doubled to .32 degrees.
What causes global warming?
The main culprit for global warming are greenhouse gasses, or gasses that trap heat in the atmosphere raising the temperature of the Earth. Some greenhouse gasses are carbon monoxide, methane, and fluorinated gasses, which are synthetic gasses used as refridgerants that power your air conditioning and keep your food cold. While these gasses spend the longest time in the atmosphere with an atmospheric lifetime of up to 50,000 years, they only account for three percent of all greenhouse gasses.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the largest of all greenhouse gasses by a large percent is carbon dioxide which accounts for eighty percent of greenhouse gasses In the United States. This is followed by methane at ten percent.
Most of thesegasses are produced by burning fossil fuels like coal, gasoline, oil, and natural gas. According to the EPA, burning fossil fuels accounts for eighty-four percent of all carbon dioxide produced every year. One of the biggest reasons for burning fossil fuels is transportation.
This is especially true in countries who lack strong public transportation systems like the United States, whose industry and transportation is built around cars. According to the EPA, transportation in the United States produced 1,901 million tons of CO2 in 2019. Although this number has decreased thirteen percent since 2005, transportation remains the biggest producer of greenhouse gasses.
Right behind transportation, is the production of electricity which accounts for twenty-five percent of greenhouse gasses produced in the United States or 1,639 metric tons. With renewable sources of energy still mostly in their infancy, most of the United States still relies on the burning of natural gas and coal to heat their homes and power their devices.
Although natural gas is viewed as a much cleaner source of energy, it is in a limited amount and the days of its use are numbered.
Why is global warming a big deal?
Many people think that global warming is real but don’t realize that the effects of greenhouse gasses are happening now and not in a hundred years like most people think.
The temperature has risen two degrees since the industrial revolution. That may not sound like a big deal, but is actually extremely unusual in the Earth’s history.
Data collected by NASA showed the temperature of the earth during the Ice Age, where North America was mostly covered with ice, was only five degrees cooler than today.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, a panel of thousands of scientists from all over the world, the global temperature is predicted to rise an additional ten degrees in the next one hundred years.
The rise in temperature will have consequences. One of them being the increase in heatwaves and droughts. This will be felt the most in western states like California, Washington, and Nevada, who already have problems with a lack of water which supports the sparking of wildfires.
On the East Coast, the rise in temperature will increase the number of category four and five hurricanes which according to NASA, have already increased in number since the late 20th century. Also due to the high temperatures.
In the oceans, the sea level could rise up to 8 feet by 2100 from the melting of glaciers and other formations of ice. The arctic will also become ice free in the summer by then.
What is being done now?
Since the world noticed global warming becoming a problem, much of the world has done something in an attempt to slow it down or halt it. Some examples of this is legislation requiring modes of transportation to become more efficient and produce less emissions.
Another is the AIM (American Innovation and Manufacturing) Act which was made in 2020. This act aims to phase down fluorinated gasses by eighty-five percent in the next fifteen years.
In many places of the world, power plants that run on coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels are being phased out for more renewable and cleaner sources of power such as wind or solar. According to MIT, twenty-six percent of the world’s source of power is renewable energy.
Although renewable energy has come a long way, there is still a lot to be done before it can completely take over fossil fuels as a source of power for our homes and vehicles.
Many countries are doing their part to curb global warming, however some countries are slower to respond to the alarming problem. One of these countries is the world’s largest producer and user of coal; China.
Even though it is the world’s number one polluter, emitting 9.8 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Although China has set milestones to reduce its use of coal by 2020, it is two years after their target and China has not yet met its goal.

Is global warming reversible?
Many countries have proposed ways to counter the effects of global warming, but is it even going to do anything? In the short term, no, there is nothing that can be done to reverse global warming next year or the next seven decades.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, even if humans immediately stopped emitting CO2 and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, the temperature of the Earth would continue to rise for decades as greenhouse gasses and heat trapped in the oceans come up to the surface.
Even though scientists at Oxford University state that there has been a pause in the rise of temperatures since 1998, scientists at Bristol University contridicted the statement published in a paper in 2015 calling the pause not true.
Despite the fact global warming cannot be reversed within a realistic amount of time, there are ways to reduce its effects on the Earth’s climate.
Are the solutions realistic?
The only way to slow down global warming is to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gasses. Most people see the switch from the burning of fossil fuels for power to clean renewable energy sources as a simple task, but there are some hurdles that must be cleared before this is true.
One example of this is the high start up cost to install these technologies. First world nations may be able to support it but countries that are still developing may not be able to afford these costs and will choose more affordable sources of power like coal.
Another solution that recently was created is carbon cap and trade. Carbon cap and trade is a concept created by Tomas Cooker that sets a cap on the amount of emissions companies can produce within a certain amount of time. Those that are under this cap can choose to sell the rest of their allowance of pollutants to other companies creating a market. The first organization to put this in place was the European Union in 2005, aiming to reduce its carbon footprint by twenty-one percent by 2020. This has been successful and according to the European Union and is setting a new goal of a fifty-five percent reduction in emissions by 2050.
This is despite the claim made by Tomas that this is not an effective way to reduce emissions.
What can people do to help?
There are lots of little things that you can do your part to reduce your carbon footprint and help minimize the effects of global warming. One thing is to waste less food. According to the U.S. Department Of Agriculture (USDA), 40 percent of the food supply in the United States goes to waste every year. By wasting less food, not only is the CO2 and methane emitted to produce and transport that food in vain, your wasted food will produce methane when sitting in a landfill.
Another thing you can do in your home is to switch your incandescent light bulbs to more energy efficient LED bulbs. Since most sources of power are from fossil fuels, being more energy efficient reduces the amount of fossil fuels burned.
When on the road, avoid heavy braking and acceleration when necessary, this will not only save you money, but will reduce the amount of CO2 you emit each trip you take. Taking these steps will lead you to not only save money, but doing your part will make the world a little better for future generations.