EMSC 100
Freshman Seminar in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Solutions for Global Warming


Today, there is no single solution that is agreed upon, because scientists are still debating whether the problem is a real one or a perceived one. The main question is whether we want to wait to see the effects for sure and then act, or whether we want to start to do something now?

Like many pioneer fields of research, the current state of global warming science can't always provide definitive answers to our questions. There is certainty that human activities are rapidly adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and that these gases tend to warm our planet. This is the basis for concern about global warming.

The fundamental scientific uncertainties are these: How much more warming will occur? How fast will this warming occur? And what are the potential adverse and beneficial effects? These uncertainties will be with us for some time, perhaps decades.

Global warming poses real risks. The exact nature of these risks remains uncertain. Ultimately, this is why we have to use our best judgment—guided by the current state of science—to determine what the most appropriate response to global warming should be.

What difference can I make?

When faced with this question, individuals should recognize that, collectively, they can make a difference. In some cases, it only takes a little change in lifestyle and behavior to make some big changes in greenhouse gas reductions. For other types of actions, the changes are more significant.

When that action is multiplied by the 270 million people in the U.S. or the 6 billion people worldwide, the savings are significant. The actions include being energy efficient in the house, in the yard, in the car, and in the store.

Everyone's contribution counts, so why not do your share?

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Energy Efficiency Means Doing the Same (or More) with less Energy. When individual action is multiplied by the 270 million people in the U.S., or the 6 billion people worldwide, the savings can be significant.



How Can I Save the Environment?

Instructions: You can help save the environment by making changes from the top to the bottom of your home. Roll over the numbers below to see how you can make a difference:

Cross section view of a house labeled with energy-saving tips. Described in text below.


To review, these are the things you can do in your home – from top to bottom - to protect from the environment:

  1. Purchase "Green Power" - electricity that is generated from renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, or biomass - for your home's electricity, if available from your utility company. Although the cost may be slightly higher, you'll know that you are buying power from an environmentally friendly energy source.
  2. Insulate your home – you’ll learn more about this in Home Activity Three.
  3. Use low-flow faucets in your showers and sinks.
  4. Replace toilets with water-saving lavatories.
  5. Purchase home products—appliances, new home computers, copiers, fax machines, that display the ENERGY STAR® label - You can reduce your energy consumption by up to 30 percent and lower your utility bills! Remember, the average house is responsible for more air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions than is the average car.
  6. When your lights burn out, replace them with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights.
  7. Lower the temperature on your hot water tank to 120 degrees.
  8. Tune up your furnace.
  9. Insulate your water heater and all water pipes to reduce heat loss.

When you remodel, build, or buy a new home, incorporate all of these energy efficiency measures—and others.

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Each of us, in the U.S., contributes about 22 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, whereas the world average per capita is about 6 tons.

The good news is that there are many ways you and your family can help reduce carbon dioxide pollution and improve the environment for you and your children.