Can the human race control global warming?

On February 20, 2019

Many scientists around the world insist that global warming has been accelerating due to the extensive use of fossil fuels and an increase in greenhouse gasses over several centuries, since the Industrial Revolution. This has led to abnormal climate changes such as unprecedented typhoons, extreme deluges, and deadly heat waves all over the world.

In order to reduce greenhouse gasses, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted among developed nations in 1997. However, developing nations such as China and India were not part in this protocol at first. The U.S., which emits the world’s second largest volume of greenhouse gasses after China, withdrew from the protocol in 2001 stating it would restrain economic growth.

In 2015, the Paris Agreement, a new multilateral framework on climate change, was finally adopted among 190 nations including the U.S. and developing countries. It aims to combat the rise in average temperatures and to restrain temperatures by 2 degrees, comparative to the Industrial Revolution. As a result, each nation was obligated to create their target plans, referred to as the “Nationally Determined Contribution”, and to take domestic measures to reduce greenhouse gas emission. Nevertheless, the U.S. president, Donald Trump surprisingly withdrew from the agreement in 2017 since he believes global warming was “merely a hoax”.

In accordance with the “Nationally Determined Contribution”, each nation is required to implement concrete measures such as forest preservation, an introduction of carbon tax or emission trading, renewable energies, low emission vehicles, and other approaches for the reduction of greenhouse gasses and fossil fuels.

Of course, nuclear power generation might be thought as one of the measures for reducing greenhouse gasses, but in Japan, many people still fear the risk of radioactive contamination by nuclear power plant accidents such as the Great East Japan earthquake.

Renewable energy sources are safe and clean technologies, but several demerits such as high initial costs, unstable or insufficient supplies which can lead to a negative impact on the economy.

Moreover, even if the “Nationally Determined Contribution” is impeccably implemented, it will be rather difficult to curb global warning. Humans must rally wisdoms to achieve any breakthroughs to control global warming.

By Yuzuru Takeuchi