Green Ideas for Climate Change Could Mean More Green for Cities

Climate change has become a growing concern in the last few years, convincing some people to take greener approaches to their everyday lives. What few people know is that going green now makes economical sense.

A new report shows investments to help fight climate change can spur economic growth. However, time is running out for a trillion-dollar shift to transform cities and energy use. The report also said the next 15 years were critical for a bigger shift to clean energies and cut health bills from pollution.

These next 15 years are crucial for the green energies because the global economy will double, around a billion more people will come to live in the cities and new technology will change businesses and lives, according to the report.

According to a panel of United Nations experts, swift action is needed to avert more heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising seas. The panel also concluded it is around 95 percent probable that human activities are responsible for the climate change, not natural climate swings.

To maintain our current way of living, the panel said it would take around $90 trillion in investments in the next 15 years to keep our high-carbon model of infrastructure for cities, transport, energy and water systems, averaging to about $6 trillion a year. If we shift to a low-carbon energy model, using wind or solar power, it will cost a further $270 billion a year; a 4.5 percent increase that could offset other savings such as fuel.

One area where a low-carbon energy model will cut costs is in air pollution, a health problem that costs 4.4 percent of the world gross domestic product, and more than 10 percent of GDP in China.

Global warming has become less of a myth and more proven with a majority of the world’s scientific community supporting the theory that mankind has influenced climate change. Here are some facts about climate change all but confirming the presence of global warming.

  • Global sea levels rose about 17 centimeters in the last century. The rate in the last decade is almost double that.
  • All three major global surface temperature reconstructions show Earth has warmed since 1880. A majority of this warming has happened since the 1970s, with the 20 warmest years recorded in human history having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years.
  • The oceans have absorbed a lot of the incoming heat, causing the first 2,300 feet of the ocean to grow warmer by .302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.
  • Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica decreased by 150 to 250 cubic kilometers of ice per year from 2002 to 2006, and 152 cubic kilometers of ice between 2002 to 2005, respectively.
  • Since the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by almost 30 percent as a result of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed each year is about 2 billion tons and growing.

Global warming is real and a real problem. Every year, the effect humanity has on the environment becomes more obvious and more harmful to us. While we can’t undo some of the damage we’ve done, we can change how much we do in our future before it’s too late.

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