Who’s Responsible For Climate Change?

By:  Dhiraj Bomma
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Humans across the globe are trying to find ways they can reduce climate change. But, who really contributes the most towards the issue? Knowing what is causing global warming can help us, as consumers figure out the most effective way to help the climate. Some things people do to help the environment may not be as productive as others. For example, energy efficient light bulbs may not reduce CO2 emissions as much as reducing the usage of lightbulbs. 

The Carbon Disclosure Project reported that the top 100 air polluters were all coal and oil companies. The most greenhouse gas was produced by Aramco, a Saudi Arabian oil company. The majority of oil used in the US is for transportation. If people help reduce the use of oil in transportation, we would reduce the amount of CO2 we pollute into the air. We could reduce our usage of oil by carpooling, walking, taking public transport, or driving electric vehicles.

A big issue that will speed up greenhouse gas emissions in the near future is the development of countries such as China or India. An estimated 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to electricity, as stated by the International Energy Agency. As more people in those countries gain the ability to use electricity for everyday tasks, the amount of power those countries need will increase. This means unless they have renewable energy sources in those countries, the amount of CO2 they release will only go up. A possible solution for this issue could be giving foreign aid to developing countries to be used on renewable energy sources. But until more renewable energy is available around the globe, CO2 emissions will continue to rise.

A huge contributor to CO2 emissions is the meat industry. It is responsible for about 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world! As consumers, we directly influence how much meat is produced, as the supply will meet demand. If people reduce their meat consumption, the meat industry will respond by producing less meat, and ultimately releasing less greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Even reducing your meat consumption to a handful of meals a week, will drastically affect the amount of “demand” you generate for the meat industry. The average US consumer eats 222 pounds of meat a year according to the US Department of Agriculture. At a population of 329 million people, reducing meat consumption by 1% would reduce the amount eaten by about 730 million pounds.

The amount of CO2 emissions globally will only increase upwards, unless humans across the world start to reduce emissions. Many sources of pollution are solvable, but they will take time and effort to stop. We need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and reduce our use of energy in general. We also need to reduce meat consumption, all while creating more sources of renewable energy to help support the energy needs of developing countries. These won’t be easy, but they will be necessary, if we want our Earth to be habitable for decades.