Climate Change (IV)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
It should be made clear that climate change is already happening right now and cannot be avoided. We can only reduce its effects and adapt to its consequences with both small and large-scale measures: the reduction of greenhouse gases, adaptation to its impacts and climate engineering.
There is also a great potential for the reduction of gas emissions by combining activities such as energy conservation and increased energy efficiency, the use of low carbon energy, such as renewable and nuclear energy, and carbon capture and storage. Another solution is to look for ‘carbon neutrality’ which means that carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is counteracted by the absorption of carbon by other practical methods such as the planting of forests.
A carbon price could also be applied and translated into taxes. An economic value could be assigned to greenhouse gas emissions, high enough to encourage government and business investment to be redirected towards less polluting production models.
It should be noted that by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, the most developed countries agreed to legally binding commitments, and in the Paris Agreement in late 2015 all countries worldwide agreed to establish measures to stop global warming.
Secondly, adaptation to climate change focuses on actions to reduce vulnerability to the effects of climate change, such as improving infrastructure and safer facilities, in addition to reforestation.
Climate engineering is the deliberate modification of the climate. Its research techniques generally pertain to the management of solar radiation and decreasing carbon dioxide. But there are other strategies such as releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to capture methane that is 84 times more harmful, and refreezing the poles by pumping seawater into the clouds so they will reflect more sunlight and cool the areas beneath them.
Other strategies are the conversion of carbon dioxide emissions into a fuel, greening the oceans so that they do not become acidic and putting iron salts to stimulate the growth of plankton that would capture carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, climate engineering has been ineffective so far or has serious side effects that cannot be stopped without causing rapid climate change.