What needs to be done to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets by 2020? Since the beginning of Industrial Revolution, concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have all risen dramatically because of human activities. Fossil fuel combustion, land-use change, increasingly intensive agriculture, and an expanding global human population are the primary causes for these increases. Other greenhouse gases found in our planet's atmosphere include water vapor and ozone. Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere by the burning of solid waste, wood and wood products, and fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal). Nitrous oxide emissions occur during various agricultural and industrial processes, and when solid waste or fossil fuels are burned. Methane is emitted when organic waste decomposes, whether in landfills or in connection with livestock farming. Methane emissions also occur during the production and transport of fossil fuels. The Properties of Greenhouse Gases
Greenhouse gases vary in their ability to absorb and hold heat in the atmosphere, a phenomenon known as the "greenhouse effect." HFCs and PFCs are the most heat-absorbent, but there are also wide differences between naturally occurring gases. 'F-gases' are man-made gases that included chlorofluoracarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). They are used as refrigerants, propellants and in electronics manufacture, but are highly persistent in the Earth's atmosphere. They are typically thousands of times more potent as greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. While reductions in the use of CFCs have been underway in Western Nations for over twenty years, these chemicals are still used in some developing countries. The Montreal Protocol, the international agreement that phases out ozone-depleting substances, requires the end of chlorodifluoromethane production by 2020 in developed countries and 2030 in developing countries. CFCs have been gradually phased out in most nations and replaced by hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which avoid ozone depletion problems, but are still very potent greenhouse gases. The Kyoto Protocol aims to reduce emissions of these HFCs by tighter controls and the use of new alternatives such as using butane or propane as the coolant in refrigerators rather than HFCs. While many developed nations have had carbon emission reduction programs underway for several years, often as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its 'Kyoto Protocol', their combined emissions have continued to increase. In the coming decades, growth in carbon emissions is likely to be dominated by emissions from developing and transition economies like China and India. From a technological standpoint, the most straightforward methods of greenhouse gas mitigation are through increased energy efficiency, in production and/or use. Carbon Capture and Storage technologies have been touted as a way to continue fossil fuel based energy generation while reducing emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. On methane emissions reduction, there is promising research in ruminant feeds, which is leading to per capita cutbacks in animal methane output. In the case of rice farming, changes in land management and crop varieties also hold significant potential. Prior to the industrial revolution, concentrations were fairly stable at 280ppm. Today, they are around 370ppm, an increase of well over 30 percent. purchase energy-efficient lightbulbs; lower the temperature on your water heater and take shorter showers; and raise the temperature in your refrigerator or open the door less often. When purchasing new appliances, choose more efficient models by taking Energy Star ratings into account.
Currently, concentrations are 383 ppm and rising at a rate of about 2 ppm a year, a rate that has been rising and is expected to continue doing so. Burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, oil and gasoline...
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