We all know that recently the effects of global warming have increased greatly. But do we really understand why this is all happening? Global warming is the “gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere attributed to the greenhouse effect”. This increase in the global temperature is directly related to the deterioration of the carbon cycle. The carbon cycle is the earth’s natural way of moving carbon in and out of the atmosphere from trees, oceans, soil and animals. The carbon cycle supports the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere, which has kept the planet comfortably warm for millions of years.
As human beings we are constantly using fossil fuels in our modern society. Examples of humans using fossil fuels include the use of coal, the use of oil, and the use of gas for both electricity and to fuel transportation. In the United States and similarly modern places, humans use these fuels on a daily basis and the use of these fuels has rapidly increased over the past 30 years (figure 1). As a result, the Carbon cycle has been effected and has directly been related to the cause of global warming.
How exactly does our use of fossil fuels negatively impact the carbon cycle though? The burning of fossil fuels by humans affects the carbon cycle because when large quantities of fossil fuels are admitted , it releases large amounts of extra carbon into the atmosphere causing the carbon dioxide rate to increase. As a result it creates an enhanced greenhouse effect, leading to global warming. It releases carbon back into the cycle that had been tied up in coal, oil, or gas for millions of years. One can see in figure 2 bellow, that as humans we are constantly contributing to the increase in carbon being released. This injustice we are doing to the environment is completely deteriorating the carbon cycle and it is creating and severe imbalance in the way that the environment functions. Several countries are trying to fix this problem and personally, I agree with the initiatives they are taking to prolong the process of Global Warming.
Below is a listed ranking of countries and their Co2 emission rate per capita. One can see that the countries with the largest emission of C02 are the global supper powers. However, if one looks at the countries with the least amount of CO2 these are the countries that have initiated campaigns to reduce their emission of CO2. In Ukraine, the government has put forth a stern effort to prevent increases in the use of fossil fuels.
The president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych initially took drastic measure to insure emission rates decreased. He decided to cut off all oil supplies in the Ukraine for a month. This method wasn’t very successful and he came up with an alternative plan. His new initiative is to create a system in which each household is limited to a certain amount of oil, gases and coal. Every week, a family of 4 is restricted to use of 87,000,000 barrels of Fossil Fuel. This quantity is altered depending on the size of one’s family. If one exceeds the quantity their family is given they are cut off from their supply. As a result, it forced families to budget the distribution of their fossil fuels. Personally, I think this a phenomenal initiative and other countries with high CO2 emission rates should take the similar steps to curb their CO2 emission rates. Countries such as Japan have taken steps similar to this and their rates are relatively low compared to other countries (figure 3). I believe that as other countries begin to do the same, we can collectively reduce Co2 emission rates and potentially prolong the process of global warming by fixing the glitch in the carbon cycle.