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See also:    What Is Global Warming?
 
See also:   Should I be Worried?
 
 
What Can be Done?

Global warming is a 'hot' topic, and there is much political and public debate on the subject, and what actions to take in response.  Many people and organisations are doing lots of different things - most of these actions fit into one of 3 general categories of action.  These are:

 Mitigationto reduce further emissions; 

 Adaptationto reduce the damage caused by warming; and,

 (more speculatively), Geo-engineering to reverse global warming. 

 
Mitigation

Mitigation of global warming is accomplished through reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases. The world's primary international agreement for this, the Kyoto Protocol, now covers more than 160 countries and over 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

As of February 2010, only the United States, historically the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has refused to sign the Treaty.   

Because the Kyoto treaty expires in 2012, international talks began in May 2007 on a future treaty to succeed the current one. The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference met in Copenhagen in December 2009 to agree on a framework for climate change mitigation.  No binding agreement was made.

There has also been business action on climate change, including efforts to improve energy efficiency and limited moves towards the use of alternative fuels.  In January 2005 the European Union introduced its European Union Emission Trading Scheme, through which companies in conjunction with government agree to cap their emissions or to purchase credits from those below their allowances. Australia announced its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in 2008. United States President Barack Obama has announced plans to introduce an economy-wide cap and trade scheme. 


Adaptation

Adaptation means accepting the changes brought by global warming, and changing our practices to enable us to continue living in a warmer, less predictable climate.  A wide variety of measures have been suggested for adaptation to Global Warming, from the installation of air-conditioning equipment, to major infrastructure projects, such as abandoning settlements threatened by sea level rise.

Measures including water conservation, water rationing, adaptive agricultural practices, construction of flood defences, changes to medical care, and interventions to protect threatened species have all been suggested. 

 

Geo-Engineering

Geo-engineering is planetary engineering applied to Earth - the deliberate modification of  the Earth's natural environment on a large scale to suit human needs. An example is " greenhouse gas remediation" which removes greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.  Another example is "Solar Radiation Management" which would reduce absorbed solar radiation, such as by the addition of stratospheric sulfur aerosols. No geo-engineering projects of significant scale have been implemented, and detailed study has largely been the work of small numbers of scientists; but various significant institutions (such as the Royal Society and IMechE) have recently suggested that further study is warranted. High costs and unforeseen consequences are seen as major issues, and there is also concern that one country could act unilaterally.

















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