Greenhouse Gas Emission

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency , there is a decreasing trend in greenhouse gas emissions by gas from 2007 to 2012, mainly due to the increase in awareness. However, we are still generating about 6000 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Just to put the number in perspective, the CO2 emissions from a gallon of gasoline are only around 9000 grams. In addition, the average annual CO2 emissions of a typical passenger vehicle are about ( assume that an average person drives a 21.6 MPG car around 11,400 miles per year)

Annual CO2 emissions = (CO2 per gallon / MPG ) x miles = 9000 / 21.6 x 11,400 = 4.7 tons.

The total greenhouse gas emissions from transportation take up around 28% of the total GHS emissions. Fortunately, this means that there are still a lot of ways to reduce the total GHS emissions.

China’s Air Pollution Resembles “Nuclear Winter”

According to scientists in China, the air pollution of the country is starting to slow down photosynthesis in plants, in addition to covering it’s most populated cities in a blanket of thick smog.  With a population of 1.35 Billion people, it is not hard to imagine that something like this occurring.  However, it is also something that can be at the very least slowed down if the population were to work together and try to make a positive impact.

According to the Wall Street Journal, China is set to (probably does now) have as many people driving cars as the United States has people- about 300 million.  If one assumes that 411 grams of CO2 are emitted traveling one mile in a car that travels at about 22 MPG, and you also assume that only half of China’s driving population travel 20 miles a day, you could calculate how many grams of CO2 are emitted into China’s air in one day: (411 grams/1 mile) x (25 miles/1 Person) x (150 million people) = 1.54 x 10^12 grams of CO2/day.

Obviously there is much more to the problem than simply people driving cars around, but if more people decided to bike or take public transit it could very well have a larger effect on the environment or at least slow down the amount of CO2 being emitted into the air.

Global warming and water supply

Global warming is arguably one of the biggest topics that come to mind when talking about sustainability. Between 1906 and 2005, the global average surface temperature rose 1.1 to 1.6 Fahrenheit. In addition, this increase in temperature has doubled in the past 50 years. The climate change is going to have a huge impact on the sustainability of water supplies in the coming decades. This change however is brought by our own human activities that involve heavy emissions of carbon dioxide. In fact, since the Industrial Revolution began, the level of carob dioxide has increased almost 40 percent as of 2010.

In today’s lecture, we learned that about 27% of household water usage goes towards toilets. If we can somehow find a way to reduce that percentage by as little as 5% every year, I believe that will significantly increase our water supply in the future.

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