Irregular climatic conditions remain the prime (environmental) challenge that the globe is facing at present. The consumption of fossil fuels by the energy infrastructure is one of the greatest sources of greenhouse gases which are responsible for recent global warming and climate change concern.
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The ministry of the regional municipalities and water resources’ should play an active part in global efforts to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations to avoid reaching dangerous levels and to adapt to the climate change that is now inevitable. However, with the change in global climate facilitated by the emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, this might be challenging task.
There is an urgent need to consider the renewable energy sources for sustainable development in order to reduce the carbon footprint. The major advantage of the renewable energy sources is that they can never be depleted since they do not exist in fixed amounts like the non-renewable sources.
They are clean and have very little contribution to global warming. Most of these sources are harvested in their natural form and thus requires very little operation costs.
Every activity has an impact on the environment. A business’s carbon footprint measures the impact that a business has on earth and its environments. Carbon dioxide is the only gas that people have the greatest control over. A carbon footprint measures a business emission of greenhouse gases in units of carbon dioxide. There are two parts of carbon footprint; primary and secondary.
Primary carbon footprint measures the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted as a result of use of electricity, driving, and heating. Secondary carbon footprint measures the carbon emitted by others who provide services for the business. The measurement of a carbon footprint helps in determining ways in which businesses can change their impact on the environment (Adeyeye et al 2007).
Global warming is a worldwide problem that requires massive participation of businesses in reducing it. Improvement on the management of carbon emissions, creating intelligent utility and energy networks, optimizing transportation systems, and creating advanced water-management systems are some of the ways that a business can use to reduce its carbon footprint.
Diagnostic tools such as carbon calculators are helping businesses to quickly assess their operations, to first define a carbon footprint and then identify opportunities for improvement (Cramton & Kerr 2002).
Globalization and technological advancement has contributed immensely towards the increase in the number of industries in the world. In the process of production, fuel is required to run some machines; however, this fuel is a major source of pollution to the environment.
Fossil fuels, for example, emit gases (when burnt) that are harmful to human beings and the environment at large- this is the commonly used non-renewable energy resource. The consumption of fossil fuels by the energy infrastructure is one of the greatest sources of greenhouse gases which are responsible for recent global warming and climate change concern.
In 2005, the universal atmospheric concentration of co2 recorded a swell in (greenhouse) gases which has swelled from its pre-industrial value. Carbon dioxide constitutes almost 60% of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global energy consumption is expected to increase by 52 percent from 2006 to 2030 (Bishop 2008).
The Need to Reduce the Carbon Footprint
As Greenhouse gases accumulate in the earth’s surface, they form a mirror that reflects heat radiation on the earth’s surface. In cases where the air is polluted by green house emissions then these gasses break the reflected sunlight radiations from reflecting back to the atmosphere, leaving them just at the earth’s surface. This increases the temperature on the earth’s surface.
This is not only harmful to human beings, but to all living organisms including plants and animals. When these gases are released in large amount they result in global warming. This is the increase in the temperatures of the earth’s air surface and the subsequent increase in the water levels.
It results from numerous human activities that emit gasses that prevent the radiation of sunlight back to the atmosphere. Generally when sunlight reaches the earth’s surface, there is an amount of it that is reflected back to the atmosphere at a higher wave length; when this happens, the earth’s temperatures are regulated.
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As the growth of vegetation, for instance, forest is interfered with, the water cycle changes resulting into shorter periods of rainfall. Growth of plants and vegetation declines consequently resulting in lack of food for both animals and human beings (Union of Concerned Scientist 2010).
This increases the mortality rate and some plant species may even become extinct. Global warming is also likely to encourage the development of many tropical diseases, although whether it turns out to be on a scale that would seriously affect the world’s population levels remains to be seen.
Many tropical diseases are already moving into higher latitudes, however, and the more the ecosystem is disturbed by warming, then the more vulnerable it becomes to the spread of plant diseases too, bringing agricultural problems in their wake.
Emerging technologies are being developed to reduce or eliminate these carbon footprints. To control the amount of carbon dioxide released from industries, the ministry can put strict regulatory measures such as the use of the cap-and-trade. This is a market based method for controlling carbon dioxide emissions by use of tradeoffs and incentives.
In this technique, an amassed cap is sought after in the entire energy bases which are then allowed to trade among themselves as a way of ascertaining the source that emit a lot of pollution to the environment (Fischer 2010). Under a rate-based baseline-and-credit plan, firms are prescribed a performance standard spelling out the target industry emission rate.
An emission rate represents the emission technology level of a firm and is the amount of pollution that is emitted per unit of output.
A rising carbon worth is required to change consumer and life style choices, to make (renewable) energy as well as energy effectiveness cheaper as compared to the fossil fuels, to stimulate business venture, innovation and related economic activity, and to move the nation to the cleaner milieu beyond the fossil fuel era.
A carbon tax would be a competent control scheme because it will dampen companies from discharging gases into the atmosphere. However, in order to achieve the desired results, the tax should increase as the level of gases released increase for it to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Committee 1997).
Ways of Reducing the Carbon Footprint
The global demand to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is receiving great concern presently. Global warming is the biggest challenge facing the world today, and radically reducing the carbon footprint is the most pressing requirement. Many people argue about the causes of global warming and how to address this problem.
Clearly, action to reduce the carbon footprint is not necessarily as straightforward as it may seem; unintended consequences could have almost as devastating an effect on the lifestyle of large sections of the global population as global warming is projected to do (Willis 1995). For instance, the recent interest for the production of biogas is an outstanding case in point.
The massive increase in production of ethanol is pushing up food prices globally, as crops are converted into fuel for industries rather than being sold as foodstuffs. use of ethanol may seem as a good idea because it causes increased combustion thus cutting toxic emissions and can be used to reduce the carbon footprint, but may lead to an increase in food prices and the supply of food stuffs is cut back.
When deciding on the best strategy to use for reducing carbon emissions, there is need to speculate on what the unplanned consequences may turn out to be and devise ways of addressing them (Bishop 2008).
In devising a reaction strategy, the organization should put emphasis on so-called ‘no regrets’ measures, those which offer industry net benefits as well as addressing the greenhouse gas outcome, or at least those that have no net cost in the long run.
It gives the impression that a comparable no-regrets strategy will as well be necessary to persuade farmers to espouse new practices, and the linking of emission lessening through preservation tillage with enhancement of soil quality will be indispensable (National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Committee 1997).
The objectives of tillage require the use of manifold cultivations, the frequencies of this cultivation being dictated by the existing climatic conditions and understanding of the farmers.
Even though the traditional tillage practices in many countries were at first imported from European agriculture, they have advanced into an assortment of locally modified practices. In the modern times, there is escalating understanding that the soil is not only a significant constituent of our production system, but that it plays a vital role in the preservation of local, regional and international environment quality.
At the farm level, conservation farming has become more and more conventional, and it is anticipated that some form of this structure is accomplished on more than fifty percent of land across all states.
Using of nuclear energy reduces emission of carbon to the environment. Nuclear fusion reaction produces heat, which in turn heats water that produces electricity. In countries that use nuclear power, their waste from fuel that they use is minimal; it is estimated to be 1%. This means that nuclear energy produces far less industrial waste than fossil energy.
Emissions produced from a nuclear energy can be tapped and used for other factors (National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Committee, 1997). Uranium and plutonium that are major components of a nuclear energy plant can be tapped up to 95% and used to make mixed oxide oil.
As demand for fuel in industries is growing, national oil reserves and oil wells are draining, they are highly depleted and since they take a long period of time to mature, relying on them for generation of electricity can be seen as a short term measure. Nuclear energy can be manufactured in laboratories so that if well regulated, it can be the future energy source
Renewable Energy Sources
Emerging technologies are being developed to reduce or eliminate these greenhouse emissions are of the utmost importance and will continue to be in the foreseeable future. The clean energy blueprint investigated on ways of promoting diversity in production of energy and its conservation and looked into the cost effective methods.
It recommended the use of alternative methods of generating energy and emphasized on the use of renewable sources such as wind and geothermal (Cubby 2009). The utilization of renewable is cost efficient and pleasant to the surroundings.
Running water is used to create electricity in the hydroelectric systems. Fossil fuel is employed in burning water. It is the vapour from this boiling water that rotate turbine thus electricity production. Another type of renewal energy that can be used for sustainable environment is the solar power. This energy is gotten direct from the sun by use of solar panels. Wind energy has been used throughout history.
It has been used to power boats, to drive windmills, and many other uses (Union of Concerned Scientists 2010). Variations in pressure (i.e. temperature and atmospheric) leads to air movements. This air movement is what is commonly refereed to as the wind. This movement is then transformed into energy by use of a generator.
Geothermal power is generated when the radioactive elements heats the earth’s crust (Cubby 2005). This heat is then carried by water or magma to the earth’s surface and it becomes detectable in the form of hot springs as geysers. This heat can be used to power turbines leading to the generation of electricity.
Biomass is one of the well established sources of energy and among the oldest in the world. Stored plant’s energy is converted to produce biomass energy that can be used for lighting and heating.
The most effective way to reduce the level of carbon footprints is the use of renewable energy sources. This is both cost effective and friendly to the environment. By use of these sources the greenhouses gases caused by combustion of fuel will reduce since most of the renewable sources are clean and inexhaustible.
These renewable sources can not be exploited as compared to the non renewable because they are replenished naturally (Twidell & Weir 2006). Most of these sources are harvested in their natural form and thus requires very little operation costs. Solar energy is the simplest to manage since solar panels can be fixed on existing buildings and it does not interfere with other land activities
Global climate change is up till now the most serious environmental problem and is also one of the most complicated challenges in the 21st century. The global demand to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is receiving great concern presently.
In order for coal and other fossil fuelled power generation techniques to remain large components of energy generation, harmful emission reduction systems must continue to make technological advancements. If desired changes are not sought after, energy sources such as renewable may be the only viable options available.
Renewable energy technologies such as electricity from solar panels, electricity from wind turbines, and electricity from hydropower or energy from biomass are proving to be reliable solutions whose value propositions and payback time can be calculated with ease.
As fuel prices remain volatile and risky, the value propositions become more attractive, and the time to break even on an investment in renewable energy sources becomes shorter. Almost all renewable sources produce small quantities of electricity as compared to non-renewable resources such as, fossil fuels.
Hydroelectric energy is the most reliable source since it produces a bigger quantity of electricity than all the other resources, although it interferes with ecology and causes problems in the downstream. Wind energy is the principal job producer but can only be relied upon when there are strong winds. Wind turbines occupy a large area which would otherwise be used for farming and they also produce a lot of noise.
It would be recommendable for this business to use hydroelectric energy because its production does not consume a lot of space and it produces the biggest quantity of electricity as compared to other renewable sources. Also it is very applicable for this type of organisation because it deals with types of dams and hydropower dams will give a great value of energy.
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