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Name Zhai (Surname) Yuan (Other
ID Number 10113165
Module Title EAP
Module Code EN0031A
Assignment Title Climate Change
thMonday, 6 December Submission
Tutor Responsible William Glenn Pierce
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Human Activities Affecting Climate Change
As a part of the nature, human beings are affecting the earth environment. And it is undeniable that human activities do have bad impacts on climate change in many ways. One of the most discernible climate changes is global warming caused by greenhouse gas concentration. And it is apparently that man-made greenhouse gases have been the main cause to climate change. Due to a recent analysis, experts said that global warming will be” stronger than expected and sooner than expected”, because carbon
dioxide emission is much faster than predicted (Adam 2007 P.1). This directly leads to the greenhouse effect being enhanced, and finally causes global warming. Climate is changing. There will be more frequent extreme weathers if no actions are taken by humans to solve the problem (Hulme et al. 2002).
Climate is the average weather affected by the earth’s energy balance. The energy
balance is a combination of both incoming solar radiation and outgoing infrared radiation (Hamburg et al. 1997). However, the balance has been ruined by human activities because of the boom of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases trap heat emitted from the Earth surface to warm the earth, and prevent part of the heat from escaping. This is known as greenhouse effect (BBC News 2009). Fossil fuels have provided humans primary energy for a long time. However, fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas containing hydrocarbons are responsible for greenhouse effect. Because carbon dioxide is produced when these fuels are burnt (BBC News 2009).Fossil fuels are mainly used in two fields: transportation and industry. And in the US, about 62% carbon dioxide is produced by them in total (Pew Centre 2008a). This
essay will have a discussion on two aspects of the human’s uses of fossil fuels
enhancing greenhouse effect, and find some effective solutions to the problem.
Transportation has been a main reason for the surplus carbon dioxide emissions. Much benefit has been brought to people’s daily life because of the modern vehicles, such as
car, train and plane. However, problems also occur. Since the invention of internal combustion engine in the second Industrial Revolution, cars have been the main transport that many people choose. Internal combustion burns oil, one of the three fossil fuels, to provide energy for cars. With the development of economics, people’s
living standards are rising. As a result, much greenhouse gas is released into the atmosphere because of the wide use of cars around the world.
Oil and coal are known as traditional fuels because many industries are based on them. Much importance of the traditional fuels to industrial factories can be seen in history. Many industrial products are made of oils and many progresses need coal to provide the energy. With the development of modern industry, industrial waste gases are released into the atmosphere without any treatment. Gases especially methane and carbon dioxide are produced. They do contribute to the waste greenhouse emissions which exacerbate the greenhouse effect.
One of the best solutions to the problem is to reduce greenhouse gases in a scientific way. Clean coal is a new term that recently occurs. This kind of new technology enables, in theory, coals to emit no CO during burning (BBC News 2009). However, the 2
technology is not mature and it is not likely to be widely used in a short time, experts use the technology accompanied by carbon capture and storage (CCS). CCS can capture carbon dioxide from coal and store it in deep underground. It successfully prevents CO 2
from being released into the atmosphere (World Wildlife Fund 2008). Scientists are also looking for substitutes for fossil fuels at the same time. Renewable energy, known as a kind of clean energy, including solar, wind, hydro, wave, tide, geothermal power and various forms of bio-energy has come into human’s sight. It is hopeful that these energies can be
used in people’s daily life. There are diverse and numerous renewable sources. And it is also reliable and affordable for most people to use renewable energy. Because the technology now is mature and the cost is lower than traditional fuels if the cost of dealing with waste and pollution is included (World Wildlife Fund 2008). Good examples can be seen in several countries including China (solar), Japan (solar PV), Germany (wind and solar PV) and the USA. Currently, renewable energy accounts for 17% of global energy use, but it is not enough (World Wildlife Fund 2008). If renewable energy is used widely in both transportation and industry, much greenhouse gas can be saved.
Due to the grim situation humans are facing, government also needs to set some policies to solve the problem. Apart from long-term technology choices, the prices of energy or fuel can play an important role in the structure of energy use and gases emissions. Government can set policies to change energy prices to alter the market supply or demand of fossil fuels (Pew Centre on Global Climate Change 2008a). Government departments can raise the price of traditional fuels use and lower the price of renewable energy. That means factories should pay for greenhouse gases emissions. Many cities and states have achieved great success in the fight against global warming by adding taxes to coals use and promoting renewable energy such as solar and wind (Environment America 2008). Such similar policies are also suitable to solve transportation emissions problems. Government can call on civilians to use public transport more rather than drive their own cars to reduce vehicle uses. Also, policies to encourage people to walk and ride bicycles are useful to reduce CO emission. For 2
example, Copenhagen, Denmark, gives preference to pedestrians and bicycles over cars (Environment America 2008). These “climate-friendly” policies are efficient to
solve both industrial and transportation fossil fuels uses.
In conclusion, human activities do have effects on climate change, and fossil fuels uses have caused greenhouse gases emissions out of control. And greenhouse effect leads to the earth becoming warmer. The problem can be solved in both scientific ways and political ways. Scientists are looking for clean fuels to take place of fossil fuels, and
government can set policies to reduce traditional fuels uses. It is hopeful that the climate will be better in time to prevent many global disasters.
BBC News (2009) Climate Change Glossary.
Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/83141545.stm
Accessed on 28/10/2009.
Adam, D. (2007) Carbon output rising faster than forecast, study says. The Guardian. 23 October. Available at:
Hulme, M., Turnpenny, J. & Jenkins, G. (2002) Climate change scenarios for the United Kingdom: The UKCIP02 briefing report. London: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Hamburg, S. et al (1997) Common Questions about Climate Change. Washington DC: United Nations Environment Programme – World Meteorological Organization.
WWF – Australia (2008) Climate change solutions. Available at:
Pew Centre on Global Climate Change (2008a) Innovative policy solutions to climate change: Climate-friendly energy policy: options for the near term. In Brief5. Available at: http://www.pewclimate.org/docUploads/global-warming-science-brief-august08.pdf
Environment America (2008) Global warming solutions that work: cutting-edge efforts to curb global warming pollution (abridged). Washington, D.C.: Environment America Research & Policy Centre. Available at: