Top Environmental Issues

MatthewA By MatthewA, 25th Nov 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Science>Environmental Science

In the 21st century a few notable environmental issues have emerged. These environmental issues have been left open to much debate in the United States regarding their own environment policies, and whether enough is being done. Here are a few of the foremost environment issues.

Global Warming

Global warming is a subject that has been actively discussed in the United States and beyond. Global warming essentially refers to generally rising average temperatures caused by the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is a result of an increasing amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) that is being emitted into the atmosphere from the likes of cars, and general burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and gas. As such, these greenhouse gases trap heat from the Sun.

Reducing the amount of greenhouse gases has therefore emerged as a top environmental issue. To this extent, the Kyoto Protocol was signed by 37 countries who agreed to take measures to reduce greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitros oxide. As such, this United Nations protocol has since been established to reduce greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent.

Deforestation

Deforestation refers to the chopping down of rain forests and forests largely for paper. Rain forests in South America have been reduced in size as a result of deforestation. In many respects, deforestation is also linked to global warming because the leaves of trees can absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. As such, as the number of trees is reduced, carbon dioxide levels can further increase. In addition to this, the burning of rain forests also expands greenhouse gas emissions. Aside from this, deforestation can also have an ecological impact and reduce the biodiversity of rain forests.

Fossil Fuels and Alternatives

Dependence on fossil fuels is also an environmental issue; firstly, because as has already been noted in this article the burning of fossil fuels expands greenhouse gases. Other concerns have also been raised regarding off-shore oil wells because of oil leaks that have polluted a few seas such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. As such, calls for an offshore oil ban have emerged in the United States.

However, secondly because they are also non-renewable and estimates consider that they could become depleted within a century. As such, the debate as to which are the best alternatives to fossil fuels continues. There are in fact many greener and renewable alternatives which have already been established such as solar, wind, water, and nuclear. However, they have their own advantages and disadvantages and can certainly be expanded. In addition to this, the vast majority of cars also still rely on crude oil.

These are a few of the top environmental issues. Reducing global warming, deforestation, and expanding renewable alternatives to fossil fuels remain among the foremost issues for Greenpeace and other similar groups.

Tags

Fossil Fuels, Global Warming, Renewable Energy

Meet the author

author avatar MatthewA
Matthew is the author of the book Battles of the Pacific War 1941 - 1945. You can find further details at http://battlesofthepacificwar.blogspot.co.uk/.

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