The burning of fossil fuels to produce energy and the consumption of natural resources by ever growing global populations is to blame for the release of greenhouse gases. I will cover background on greenhouse gases and how they contribute to global warming. The different economic, security, and political challenges these emissions cause for the developing world, some causes, and possible solutions to greenhouse gases will also be explored. I have chosen Morocco as my developing country of choice because they are really affected by the climate change in the Earth’s atmosphere, and they only make up less than 3.5 percent of total global emissions. Today, I will be further exploring farming, and burning fossil fuels as greenhouse gases. Solutions and restrictions should be put in place to reduce these emissions.
Section I. Background
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (2019) defines greenhouse gases as Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, and Fluorinated gases that affect the climate by trapping heat in the atmosphere and causing the greenhouse effect. They also absorb infrared radiation but their specific effect on the climate hinges on the amount present, how long it remains present, and how much energy is absorbed. According to Shaftel, Jackson & Callery (2019), greenhouse gases contribute to global warming by absorbing 90 percent of the sun’s natural energy and using it to warm the Earth. It also creates a layer that blocks the release of heat the Earth’s cooling crust at night through the atmosphere making it impossible for an even exchange of gases.
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Here on Earth, human activities are changing the natural greenhouse. Over the last century burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil has increased the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Both CO2 and Methane (CH4) increase are due to the ever growing development in countries, causing a shift in the Earth’s natural greenhouse. The consequences of changing the greenhouses natural element are difficult to predict, but certain effects within the bounds of possibility are Earth will become warmer, as will the oceans, and they will partly melt glaciers and other ice. Also increasing sea levels, higher temperatures, and shifting climate patterns also have the ability to affect the areas where crops grow the best. Morocco is currently Africa’s leader in efforts to combat climate change, reaffirming the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate action.
Section II. How Emissions Causes Problems for the Developing World
As of 2018, the Union of Concerned Scientists for Global Warming Science list China as the top country producing the most CO2, followed by the United States, India, Russia, and Japan. This increase and shift of the Earth’s global carbon emissions has created tremendous economic challenges for many developing countries, namely Morocco. Morocco’s economic growth declined in 2016 after they suffered a drought in 2015 due to the CO2 increase on Earth. The security challenges of these emissions were also quite apparent. Some security challenges of these global carbon emissions is maintaining electricity production and distribution, and water consumption while making sure not to affect Morocco’s trade deficit. In December of 2015, the Paris Agreement on Climate Action was signed in hopes of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by limiting the rise of global temperature. In Morocco, the Plan Vert, or green strategy, emerged as a way of combating against their failing agricultural economics due to the increased production of CO2 globally. More restrictions on how deep people are allowed to go to pump water from under the ground have to be regulated for Morocco to effectively supply enough water for agricultural needs.
Developing countries contribute over 63 percent of the world’s emissions while under developed countries like Morocco, generally have an easier transition into decarbonization. Like most underdeveloped countries, their largest contribution to global emissions is energy production, even though agriculture is a nearly all of their economy.
Section III. Causes and Solutions for Greenhouse Gases
Two causes of greenhouse gases are farming and burning fossil fuels. The greenhouse gas that comes from farming is methane, which is generated by breaking down organic material from animal manure. The burning of fossil fuels like gas, oil, and coal, cause the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide to be produced. Carbon dioxide is released into the Earth’s atmosphere once a fossil fuel is burned. One potential solution to addressing farming as a cause of greenhouse gases is alternating materials used in farmers’ fields. Even restricting the application of manure fertilizer to only being applied in the spring gives hope to the reduction of environmental loss. Another potential solution to grapple with burning fossil fuels as a cause of greenhouse gases is by reducing emissions while reusing and recycling energy. Some examples of ways burning oil and gas can be reduced is by carpooling or taking public transportation. The relationship between population control and greenhouse gases correlates in that the more people we have on the Earth, the more greenhouse gases will be produced (LeDoux, 2018). This production increase is due to the innate ability humans will have to be progressive and innovative in their everyday life. During the 20th Century, the human population grew from 1.6 billion to 6.1 billion, and is said to be at over 9 billion in the next 50 years. If that prediction is accurate, in accordance with the greenhouse gases, that will create an insurmountable problem for the environment.
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A major solution that could invert this increasingly steeping slope, besides further incorporation of hybrid and electric alternatives in the exchange of coal, gas, and other fuel burning methods, is to tackle deforestation efforts, and my country of choice reflects the belief in this method. 800,000 trees are to be planted by the Moroccan government and civil society groups across the country by 2024. By involving civil society and local groups in their plan, the government has hopes that in planting the seeds of change communities will understand the effects of deforestation and prevent its spread (Akinsanya, 2017). Climate change and human activity is devastating areas of Morocco’s forest ecosystems, where forests cover more than 90,000 square kilometers, nearly 13 percent of the country. Tree cover loss in Morocco stood at 31,724 hectares 2001-2016. Meanwhile, tree cover gain lagged behind at 19,541 over the same period, according to statistics from Global Forest Watch.
In closing, population growth definitely plays a part in global emissions. The larger and more developed countries, like China and the U.S., account for a commanding majority of global emissions worldwide. An unrestrained release of greenhouse gases could not only influence temperature, but even adversely affect the natural communities of area sensitive crops.
Maintaining the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate action, Morocco has been providing electricity to approximately 650,000 people since implementing one of the largest solar farms worldwide near Ouarzazate, a city known as the gateway to the Sahara Desert, which launched in 2016. It is forecasted that Morocco will be able to export power supplies to Europe, elsewhere on the African continent, and the wider Arab-speaking world. The country is well on its way to achieving its nationally determined contributions in 2020. This, coupled with the reforestation efforts set in motion by Morocco, shows that even though their emissions are down, they’re taking the initiative in fighting the effects of global warming. As an underdeveloped country, they still set a certain standard in the fight against greenhouse gases and the effects of global warming.
- Akinsanya, A. (2017, December 16). Morocco launches tree planting programme to reduce deforestation. Retrieved July 25, 2019, from TRT World: https://www.trtworld.com/africa/morocco-launches-tree-planting-programme-to-reduce-deforestation-13349
- LeDoux, L. (n.d.). Does Population Growth Impact Climate Change? Retrieved July 25, 2019, from Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/population-growth-climate-change/#
- Schaldach, J. (2016, November 17). 5 things Morocco is doing about Climate Change. Retrieved July 25, 2019, from The World Bank: https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2016/11/17/5-things-morocco-is-doing-about-climate-change
- Shaftel, H., Jackson, R., & Callery, S. (n.d.). The Causes of Climate Change. Retrieved July 25, 2019, from NASA Global Climate Change: https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/
- UN Environment. (2018, December 20). Morocco ranked second in Climate Change Performance Index 2018. Retrieved July 25, 2019, from United Nations Environment Programme: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/blogpost/morocco-ranked-second-climate-change-performance-index-2018
- Union of Concerned Scientists. (2018, October 11). Each Country’s Share of CO2 Emissions. Retrieved July 25, 2019, from Union of Concerned Scientists Science for a Healthy Planet and Safer World: https://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/science-and-impacts/science/each-countrys-share-of-co2.html
- United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2019, April 11). Overview of Greenhouse Gases. Retrieved July 25, 2019, from Greenhouse Gas Emissions: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases
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