14 March 2014

Greenhouse Effect and Solutions

Hans Feng writes:*

It is becoming clear that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve international consensus on emission reductions and a timetable to do so, especially between China and the US because of historical legacy. Therefore, it is worthwhile to consider whether there are other steps that can be taken to achieve the same results. CO2 emissions can be reduced in three ways. The first one is dematerialization, which is a way to reduce energy intensity in economic activities in terms of energy efficiency and energy conservation. High-energy intensities usually imply a high cost of converting energy into GDP. Governments can provide subsidies and technologies to help companies transfer to low-energy intensity. The second method is transmaterialization. This involves gradually replacing conventional sources of energy with non-conventional sources, for example, switching from fossil fuels to renewable forms of energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass. Last but not least is detoxification. The concept here is carbon capture and storage of fossil fuels, which enables the use of fossil fuels while reducing emissions of CO2. Whichever method or methods the planet’s nations undertake, it is critical for all of us to understand the need to protect our living environment so that future generations can have a sustainable future.

Bottom Line: Greenhouse effect is a global concern because of its potential impacts on the world's climate and on the biosphere. Therefore, we need to take actions to prevent these negative consequences. There are three methods which would help us to solve the greenhouse effect while maintain economic sustainability. They are dematerialization, transmaterialization, and detoxification.

* These guest posts are from students in my resource economics class at Simon Fraser University. Please leave feedback on their logic, ideas and style and suggestions of how to improve.

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