Why humans are so bad at thinking about climate change

"We are hurtling toward the day when climate change could be irreversible." "Rising sea levels already altering this nation’s coast." "China’s capital is choking in its worst pollution of the year." "5% of species will become extinct." "Sea levels rising, glaciers melting." Okay. Enough. I get it. It’s not like I don’t care about polar bears and melting ice caps. I’m a conservation scientist, so of course I care. I’ve dedicated my entire career to this. But over the years, one thing has become clear to me: We need to change the way we talk about climate change. This doom-and-gloom messaging just isn’t working; we seem to want to tune it out. And this fear, this guilt, we know from psychology is not conducive to engagement. It's rather the opposite. It makes people passive, because when I feel fearful or guilt-full, I will withdraw from the issue and try to think about something else that makes me feel better. And with a problem this overwhelming, it’s pretty easy to just turn away and kick the can down the road. Somebody else can deal with it.

So it’s no wonder that scientists and policymakers have been struggling with this issue too. So I like to say that climate change is the policy problem from hell. You almost couldn't design a worse problem as a fit with our underlying psychology or the way our institutions make decisions. Many Americans continue to think of climate change as a distant problem: distant in time, that the impacts won't be felt for a generation or more; and distant in space, that this is about polar bears or maybe some developing countries. Again, it’s not like we don’t care about these things — it’s just such a complicated problem. But the thing is, we’ve faced enormous, scary climate issues before. Remember the hole in the ozone layer? As insurmountable as that seemed in the 1970s and ’80s, we were able to wrap our heads around that and take action.

People got this very simple, easy to understand, concrete image of this protective layer around the Earth, kind of like a roof, protecting us, in this case, from ultraviolet light, which by the way has the direct health consequence of potentially giving you skin cancer. Okay, so now you've got my attention. And so then they came up with this fabulous term, the “ozone hole.” Terrible problem, great term. People also got a concrete image of how we even ended up with this problem. For decades, chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, were the main ingredient in a lot of products, like aerosol spray cans. Then scientists discovered that CFCs were actually destroying the atmospheric ozone. People could look at their own hairspray and say, “Do I want to destroy the planet because of my hairspray? I mean, god no.” And so what's interesting is that sales of hairspray and those kinds of products and underarm aerosols started dropping quite dramatically.

People listened to scientists and took action. Now scientists predict that the hole in the ozone layer will be healed around 2050. That’s actually pretty amazing. And while stopping the use of one product is actually pretty easy, climate change caused by greenhouse gases … that’s much trickier. Because the sources are more complicated, and for the most part, they’re totally invisible. Right now, there is CO2 pouring out of tailpipes, there is CO2 pouring out of buildings, there is CO2 pouring out of smokestacks, but you can't see it. The fundamental cause of this problem is largely invisible to most of us. I mean, if CO2 was black, we would have dealt with this issue a long time ago. So CO2 touches every part of our lives — our cars, the places we work, the food we eat.

For now, let’s just focus on one thing: our energy use. How do we make that visible? That was the initial goal of UCLA’s Engage project, one of the nation’s largest behavioral experiments in energy conservation. What we're trying to do is to figure out how to frame information about electricity usage so that people save energy and conserve electricity. The idea is that electricity is relatively invisible to people. The research team outfitted part of a student housing complex with meters that tracked real-time usage of appliances and then sent them weekly reports. So you can see how much energy the stove used versus the dishwasher or the fridge. We realized, because of this project, the fridge was like the monster. So lucky for them, their landlord upgraded their fridge to an energy-efficient one. They also learned other energy-saving tips, like unplugging their dishwasher when not in use and air-drying their clothes during the summer months. And researchers, in turn, discovered where people were willing to cut back. The Engage project wanted to know what types of messaging could motivate people to change their behavior. We wanted to see over time over a year and with repeated messages, how do people, behave? How does that impact the consumer behavior? And what we found is that it's very different.

Some households were sent personalized emails with their energy bill about how they could save money; others learned how their energy usage impacted the environment and children’s health. Those who received messages about saving money did nothing. It was totally ineffective because electricity is relatively cheap. But emails sent that linked the amount of pollutants produced to rates of childhood asthma and cancer — well, those led to an 8% drop in energy use, and 19% in households with kids. Now, in a separate study, researchers brought social competition into the mix. First, they hung posters around a dorm building to publicly showcase how students were really doing: red dots for energy wasters, green for those doing a good job, and a shiny gold star for those going above and beyond. This social pressure approach led to a 20% reduction in energy use. This strategy was also used at Paulina’s complex, and it definitely brought out her competitive streak. For me, the competition was what motivated me, because seeing your apartment number and telling you that you are doing at the average, but you are not the best, was like, Why? I’m doing everything you are telling me to do.

I always wanted the gold star, because it was like, “Oh, my god, I want to be like the less consumption of energy in the whole building.” And psychology studies have proved this. We are social creatures, and as individualistic as we can be, turns out we do care about how we compare to others. And yes, we do like to be the best. Some people don’t want to say, Oh, I'm like the average. No, my usage is different and I want to be able to act on it. And people can act on it because with these meters, they can now see their exact impact. A company called Opower is playing with this idea of social competition. They work with over 100 utility companies to provide personalized energy reports to millions of customers around the world. Now consumers can not only see their energy use but how it compares to their neighbors’. Like the UCLA study found, this subtle social pressure encourages consumers to save energy.

It’s been so effective that in 2016, Opower was able to generate the equivalent of two terawatt-hours of electricity savings. That’s enough to power every home in Miami for more than a year. And they’re not alone. Even large companies are tapping into behavioral science to move the dial. Virgin Atlantic Airways gave a select group of pilots feedback on their fuel use. Over the course of a year, they collectively saved over 6,800 tons of fuel by making some simple changes: Adjusting their altitudes, routes, and speed reduced their carbon dioxide emissions by over 21,000 tons. These behavioral “nudges” do seem to be advancing how we as a society deal with some pretty complicated climate change issues, but it turns out we’re just getting started. There is no “quick fix.” We need people changing their companies, changing their business models, changing the products and services they provide. This is about broader-scale change. And part of this change includes embracing what makes us human.

That it can’t just be a guilt trip about dying polar bears or driving around in gas guzzlers. We need to talk about our wins, as well — like how we’re making progress, really being aware of our energy use, and taking advantage of that competitive spirit we all have in order to really move us from a state of apathy to action. Global warming is by far the biggest issue of our time. Climate Lab is a new series from Vox and the University of California, and we’ll be exploring some surprising ways we can tackle this problem. If you want to learn more, head to climate.universityofcalifornia.edu..

Kansas: Conservation, the “5th Fuel” (ENERGY QUEST USA)

Narrator: Kansas, a land of wheat, and corn, and cattle. In the heart of the country, it's number 48 out of all 50 states in energy efficiency. So this is a place where energy conservation can really make a difference. Come on, girls. Our region is a region of farmers. We are famously conservative and we have talked from the beginning about putting the conserve back in conservative. Narrator: According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, improvements in energy efficiency have the potential to deliver more than $700 billion in cost savings in the U.S. alone. But, they say motivating consumers to take action is the key to unlocking this potential and that was the aim of Nancy Jackson's Climate and Energy project, with its Take Charge! Challenge. Kansans are patriotic, Kansans are hardworking, Kansans are humble.

Narrator: And Kansans are competitive. You all are competing against Ottawa, Baldwin City, and Paola, so really, you gotta beat those guys, yes? Do you want to help us beat Manhattan? Narrator: 2011 was the second year for the Take Charge! Challenge, a friendly competition among 16 communities arranged in four regional groups aiming to reduce their local energy use. Some of the lowest cost, most effective ways that you can take ownership of your energy future is taking ownership of the efficiency and the conservation of your house or your business. Narrator: Ray Hammarlund's office used federal stimulus dollars to fund four prizes of $100,000 for each of the four regions in the competition. Just as important as the grand prize, $25,000 went to each community to fund local coordinators who took the lead in galvanizing grassroots efforts.

Here's how the challenge worked in Iola. The challenge started in January of this year and ends October 1st. You're required to have three community events. We're going to have a lot more than that. Today, we are at the Fight The Energy Hog Festival. Becky Nilges: I love the hog. He was just so ugly that he is cute. He represents energy hogs in your home. You would probably let him in but you don't know the damage he's going to do. Narrator: Competing towns scored points by counting how many cfl bulbs and programmable thermostats were installed and how many professional home energy audits were done. Our job as energy auditors, both for commercial buildings as well as residential buildings is, we're essentially detectives.

What's happening here? Is there a great deal of air leakage? And we're finding that the majority of the houses that we're dealing with actually use a lot more energy than they need to. Narrator: In Lawrence, a house of worship did an energy audit, made changes, and got a pretty nice donation in its collection plate. David Owen: One part of the audit was to contact the power company. Well, during that process we discovered they had been overcharging us. And so we got a check, a rebate check from them for $4,456. Narrator: Other changes start small, but add up. We were a little bit worried at one point that the congregation would not accept the very bright, white type lights. So as an experiment, we took one of these chandeliers and changed all the bulbs in it to the cfls. And then we took the priest over here and we said, "which one did we do?" and he could not tell us.

So that told us it was ok to do them all. Narrator: Changing lights, adding insulation, and upgrading windows paid off. Even though it's an old building, we saved 64% on the consumption of energy in this room. Narrator: Lighting makes up about 15% of a typical home's electricity bill, and lighting all of our residential and commercial buildings uses about 13% of the nation's total electricity. But changing out old bulbs is a lot easier than paying for audits and the energy enhancements they recommend. Here's where the 2011 Take Charge! Challenge promised material assistance using stimulus funds. Ken Wagner: It's a $500 audit that costs you $100. The rest of that $500 is covered under the Take Charge Challenge program through the Kansas Energy Office. We really love the competitive spirit of the program and I think it's really raised a whole awareness of energy efficiency and the importance of energy efficiency to a lot of segments in our community here.

Narrator: Even Baldwin City bankers were grateful for financial assistance from state and federal governments. Dave Hill: Nine months ago, we installed a 14 KW solar power system. I believe the initial cost of the system was basically $65,000 and then we got a substantial grant from USDA, I believe it was $20,000. We have about $18,000 of our own money invested in the system, after all the deductions. We think it will pay out in about 7-8 years. Narrator: David Crane of NRG Energy thinks that kind of approach makes good business sense. Crane: What I say to every businessman who has a customer-facing business, think of a solar panel not only as a source of electricity, think of it as a billboard. You don't even have to write your name on it. Just put it on the top of your store and it will be sending a message to your customers that you're doing the right thing when it comes to sustainable energy. Narrator: Surveys of why conservation is hard to achieve have found that people want one-stop shopping, a place where they can find out what to do and get practical recommendations about who to hire and what it all might cost, just what this new facility was to offer.

Now it's mid-October, time for the results of the 2011 Take Charge! Challenge. MC: Fort Scott. MC: And the winner is Baldwin City. Nancy Jackson: Over 100 billion BTUs were saved as a result of this Challenge, and millions and millions of dollars in each community. Those savings come from measures that have been installed that will guarantee those savings for years to come. So the savings are enormous over time. $100,000 has a nice ring to it and it's a nice cash award for a community of our size. Our challenge now is to continue on with energy efficiency and encourage our community to save. Nancy: One of our real goals was to help people to stop thinking about energy efficiency as the things they shouldn't do, as what not to do, and think about it instead as a tremendous opportunity to both save money in the near term, and to make our electric system more resilient in the long term.

So it's about what we can do, both individually and together, and for us that feels like the real win. The United States today is twice as energy efficient as it was in the 1970s. And I think we have the capability in the decades ahead to become twice as energy efficient again. We believe this is something that can be done really anywhere with great success..

Global Warming Explained

So, we've all heard of global warming and climate change and that carbon dioxide is causing our planet to heat up. But what exactly is the science behind it? To get there, we first have to understand the greenhouse effect The greenhouse effect is a process that maintains our planet's temperatures at liveable levels and is pretty much the reason life on Earth is even remotely possible. You see, the sun is constantly shooting energy towards the Earth mostly in the form of visible light which is then absorbed by our planet heating it up. This heat is then released from our planet's surface in the form of infrared light. Here's where greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide come in. Completely surrounding our planet these greenhouse gases create a blanket that allows visible light to freely pass through to the surface of the Earth but traps infrared light as it tries to leave therefore, slowing the release of the planet's heat back into space.

Keeping it just warm enough for us to sustain life. However, the more greenhouse gases there are in our atmosphere the harder it becomes for the planet's heat to escape and thus causing a global warming. and that's exactly what has been happening since 1750 or the industrial revolution. You see, before the industrial revolution the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere lingered around 270 parts per million. But since then, it has increased at an exponential rate reaching over 400 parts per million this past October. The last time there was this much CO2 in our atmopshere human beings didn't exist. And there's no doubt that this unprecedented increase in CO2 is caused by human activity. Every living thing on Earth is made of carbon and this very element is continuously cycling to maintain an equilbirum through a process called the carbon cycle.

While things such as the death of plants and animals, the eruption of volcanoes, and wildfires release carbon into the atmosphere things like photosynthesis from plant life can help remove and sequester it. However, when the industrial revolution began humans started digging up and burning fossil fuels which are really just the decomposed remains of ancient plants and animals, to use as energy. In other words, we found stockpiles of carbon which has been kept deep beneath the Earth's surface and burned it for energy and in the process, added extreme amounts of carbon dioxide right into our atmosphere On top of this, we carried out deforestation on a massive scale and sabotaged what carbon filtration system the planet had provided us with. completely toppling the equilibirum between carbon emission and removal.

With over 200 years of throwing this life sustaining equilibirum off balance, action must be taken immediately to mitigate the impact of our changing climate. The first major step we can take is shifting to clean energy sources as soon as possible so as to prevent a further increase of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. And when we look at the rapid growth of clean energy, this is a shift that we can make. All we need is a unified push towards a more environmentally conscious global society..

Al Gore headlines major sustainability conference at the University of Hawaii

>> Al Gore, former U.S. vice president: Our way of life is at stake. Our grandchildren are at stake. The future of human civilization is at stake. >> Narrator Alexandra Roth, UH student: Former Vice President Al Gore, speaking about the dangers of climate change before a crowd of nearly seven-thousand people at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Stan Sheriff Center. >> Gore: If we act together, there is absolutely no question that we will solve this. >> Narrator: Gore’s speech on the evening of April 15, 2014 was the capstone event of Ascent, a one day conference on clean energy and a sustainable future hosted by the UH Sea Grant College Program, UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii. >> Gore: We’ve got to rally on this and we’ve got to understand what’s at risk. >> Clarice Schafer, UH Manoa student: It was really exciting to see energy and passion, to support the knowledge and facts that he had to bring to us.

>> Levi Viloria, UH Manoa student: It was really interesting to see that we had that sort of connection with getting someone as famous as president, vice president Al Gore, to come down here and talk about it. >> Narrator: The Ascent conference started in the morning with an opening speech by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California at UH Manoa’s Orvis Auditorium. >> U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, California: Clean energy is good for our lungs, energy efficiency is good for our pocket book, both create good paying jobs that can’t be outsourced and as we move forward, we will make sure consumers are protected. That is the right thing to do and that is the moral thing to do. Hawaii gets it. >> Narrator: Boxer’s speech was followed by a roundtable discussion on water and energy sustainability with respected community and business leaders from Hawaii and the continental United States. The discussion continued in the afternoon during break out sessions at the East-West Center on the Manoa campus with experts from the public and private sectors who are on the front lines of sustainability efforts.

>> Daniele Spirandelli, UH Manoa Urban Regional Planning professor: What they bring up is just how difficult decisions are that they have to make on a day-to-day basis dealing with costs when it comes to. >> Narrator: The University of Hawaii Ascent conference addressed key underlying issues of sustainability and demonstrated the role UH plays. >> Boxer: This university has been fantastic and hosting this conference is a very big, big move because it captures people’s interest." >> Gordon Grau, UH Sea Grant College Program director: We can attract the quality of people like Senator Boxer and Vice President Gore, who are the major thinkers in these areas, not only in the nation but across the world.

So it is very, very important and it shows the importance of the university, not just locally, but nationally and internationally. >> Narrator: All of the speakers waived their fees, including Gore, who ended the conference by imploring the audience to think about future generations. >> Gore: I want them to look back at us, at our time, and ask, how did you find the moral courage to stand up and do the right thing, and turn the tide? And part of the answer is that the State of Hawaii provided leadership and the United States finally listened. Always remember, that the only thing we need is political will and political will is a renewable resource! Thank you very much..

The Greatest Threat to Existence as We Know it

imagine its a beautiful day in April of 2017 three children in different parts of the world are going about their daily lives as they do every day and as their parents have done for countless generations meet Hiro in Japan Hiro wants to be a successful banker one day just like his father but right now he is more interested in spaceships and planets Abasie lives in Kenya with his parents and grandparents one day he wants to travel the world in his own little sailboat akash lives in india with his big happy family when Akash grows up he wants to be the world's greatest chef and so life goes on hiro becomes an astronaut much to his fathers suprise Abasie travels the world in his sailboat and Akash opened his own restaurant in his home town they grow old and pass on having lived fulfilled lifes their children follow and thier children's children until one day in April of 2100 Akoh and his family are crammed with thousands of other people at Haneda Airport hoping it's not too late sadly the people of Tokyo never had a chance the once-proud city is reduced to rubble by tsunami the likes of which has never been seen Anassa lyes in the dark of his quiet home and he knows his time has come it hasn't rained in months all the crops and livestock have died and the well dried up long ago the people of Kenya suffer the slow death of starvation and dehydration oni draws ragged breaths in his hospital bed his body ravaged by disease is the last living member of his family the population of India has fallen drastically these are a few hypothetical scenarios from various parts of the globe while they may seem unrelated they all share a common catalyst climate change as 2017 begins and the United States presidency changes hands it has become increasingly apparent that the new regime is full of climate change deniers and fossil fuel advocates it is more important than ever to spread real information regarding climate change and the catastrophic effects it can produce within the next 100 years let's start with the common misconception when some people hear the term global warming they'll point to an instance of colder than normal weather like the Sahara Desert recently and say that's ridiculous it's snowing here this objection stems from a misunderstanding of how weather differs from climate weather refers to local changes over short periods of time such as minutes hours days or weeks typical examples of whether include rain clouds snow wind and thunderstorms climate refers to longer-term averages and maybe regional or global in scale and can be thought of as weather averaged over an extended period of time typically years or decades an easy way to remember the distinction is weather is what you get climate is what you expect now that we have a good understanding of how climate and weather differ let's look at the scientific consensus over ninety seven percent of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate warming trends over the past 100 years are extremely likely to have been caused largely by human activity that number goes up to over ninety-nine percent if you include climate scientists who have not recently published scholarly articles most of the leading scientific organizations around the world have issued public statements endorsing this position there are too many to list in this video so i put a link in the description of organizations and their statements climate change deniers tend to latch onto studies that disprove the trend but you always notice that the studies are either not peer-reviewed come from a known anti-science publisher or come from a scientist in a completely unrelated filled with an agenda of their own so where does this problem come from the largest contributing factor to climate change is the burning of fossil fuels oil coal and natural gas all release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when burned carbon dioxide is considered a greenhouse gas which simply means it sticks around in the upper atmosphere and traps heat the more carbon dioxide is released the more the atmosphere heats up this temperature increase then causes other problems such as melting glaciers and polar ice as arctic ice melts it releases co2 and methane a more potent greenhouse gas compounding the problem by making the atmosphere even warmer the smelting morais it's a vicious cycle ok but where do we stand right now what's the damage as of the end of 2016 carbon dioxide levels are up by nearly 405 parts-per-million the highest in 650,000 years global temperatures up by one point seven degrees since eighteen eighty and nine of the last ten hottest years on record happened since 2000 the tenth being 1998 Arctic ice is shrinking at a rate of 13.

3 percent per decade and land ice is disappearing at a rate of 281 gigatons per year Greenland ice loss doubled between 1996 in 2005 and finally the global sea level has risen seven inches in the last 100 you're probably thinking well that doesn't sound too bad let's look at the consequences by category first the melting of polar ice of course we've all heard that global warming affects the poor polar bears but it's true and it's severe at the current rate of melting which is likely to increase the Arctic is projected to see its first ice-free summer by 2050 imagine that all of the ice gone and yes that likely means extinction for the polar bears within a hundred years and it's not just polar bears some species of ice dependent seals will die off if they can't adapt including harp ringed ribbon and bearded seals then there are the ivory goals and ox ivory goals have already suffered a ninety percent population reduction in Canada over the past 20 years then there's the walrus the arctic fox small plant eaters like ground squirrels hairs lemmings involves large planters like moose caribou reindeer and musk ox and meat eaters like weasels wolverines wolves foxes bears and birds of prey the melting ice is likely to cause a domino effect knocking out species that other species depend upon for food melting ice brings us to our next category rising sea level over the past 100 years the global sea level has risen approximately seven inches the more alarming fact is that the rate of rise in the last decade is nearly double the rate of the entire last century at this rate rising sea level puts coastal cities and islands at great risk SC water reaches further inland it can cause destructive erosion flooding of wetlands contamination of aquifers and agricultural soils and lost habitat for fish birds and plants most projections show the sea level will rise between point 8 and 2 meters by 2100 which would be catastrophic for many low-lying islands and much of the eastern coast of the United States more dire predictions based upon the complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet project a rise up to seven meters that's enough to submerge London the third category is the one with which most people are familiar global temperature rise as CO2 accumulates in our atmosphere the temperature creeps steadily upward the annual increase is measured at roughly 1.

7 degrees Fahrenheit this increase in temperature could cause the most drastic immediate effects of all three categories the list is long and distressing so here we go global warming will cause droughts and heat waves which are already responsible for killing more people per year than floods hurricanes lightning and tornadoes combined it will aggravate the spread of disease warmer weather allows disease bears to be active longer and further abroad warmer ocean temperatures will allow pathogens to flourish as we've already seen with the widespread coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef this coral houses twenty-five percent of all marine diversity and the reef is already declined by fifty percent in the last thirty years when the coral goes we'll lose hundreds of thousands of species dependent upon it for shelter which will collapse much of the marine food chain back on land fishing will suffer droughts will destroy crops and livestock and create a water scarcity pushing farmers and people in rural areas into the city this will cause overcrowding and help spark civil wars that killed hundreds of thousands like it did in Syria GDP is expected to plummet by twenty-three percent by 2100 caused by property damage from flooding droughts wildfires storms loss of productivity loss of tourism and illness you can see how quickly the situation can snowball wildly out-of-control it seems very dire but what can we do is it too late to stop the changes we put in motion it's hard to say for sure but the affect humans have had on this earth is severe and the changes have indeed been set in motion even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases today global warming would continue for at least several more decades since carbon dioxide can linger in the atmosphere for up to centuries some experts believe we're approaching a tipping point a point at which abrupt perhaps irreversible changes would tip our climate into a new state however it may not be too late to limit some of the worst effects of climate change two important steps are required one mitigation the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and two adaptation learning to cope with and adapt to the climate changes that have already been set in motion recycling and driving fuel-efficient cars are important steps in the right direction but not sufficient on their own it will take a globally coordinated response such as clean energy agreements between nations as well as local efforts on the city and regional level such as sustainable City Planning public transportation upgrades and energy efficiency improvements so yes climate change is the biggest threat to existence as we know it and is deeply troubling that the United States government seeks to normalize ignorance of good science so if you're concerned for the future of the planet and generations to come do your part help spread this information because the earth truly is worth saving if you enjoyed this video please leave a like or a comment and subscribe to keep up with the latest content thanks for watching and we'll see you in the next video.

How Worried Should We Be About Climate Change?

The United Nations recently held their climate summit in New York City. A few days ahead of the event, more than 300,000 people joined a peaceful march in Manhattan to call attention to the issue of climate change. Secretary Of State John Kerry recently argued that the problem of climate change should be addressed with the same immediacy as Ebola or ISIS. So, putting politics aside, how serious is this issue? Well, there’s an incredible amount of statistical evidence that illustrates the severity of climate change. But instead of getting mired down in talk about ice caps and polar bear populations, let’s just discuss what the UN Climate Summit is really about: air pollution. The UN is meeting in hopes of signing a deal that could cut down on carbon emissions worldwide.

Just to be clear, we are talking about cars and our dependence on oil, but we’re also talking about things like coal power. Climate change is a pressing issue now because there are nations, chief among them China, that are actively pumping carbon into the environment on an enormous scale. According to the Global Carbon Project, China alone accounts for 28% of the world’s total carbon emissions. And they increased their emissions last year by 4.2%, which increased global emissions worldwide, by 2.3%. In other words, year over year – the situation is getting worse, not better. The ultimate goal of this meeting is to establish a plan to reduce these emissions. And one way to do that – is switching away from coal and fossil fuels, to cleaner forms of energy; a switch that some economists and ecologists now argue could also help developing countries, like China, save money in the long run.

They also argue that it would benefit not just the environment, but also the health of the people in those nations. The argument against committing to cleaner energy is that it requires an enormous initial investment and could potentially slow down economic progress. The problem is that the very nations that need economic progress most, are also the nations that emit the most carbon. It’s a catch-22, and a large part of why an agreement still hasn’t been reached. To find out more about what’s going on in China, check out our video on the conflict between China and the Tibetan Independence movement. Or watch our other video on How Powerful China really is. Remember we upload new videos five days a week, so please subscribe..

Can We Reverse The Damage Done To Earth?

Hey there and welcome to Life Noggin! Right now we are living in a dangerous time where many powerful political leaders don’t believe that climate change is caused by human activity. However, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it is very likely that most of the increase in global temperatures since the mid-20th century is caused by the human-related increases in greenhouse gas concentrations. And if we keep emitting more of these gases, the effects of global warming will continue and may even worsen. But there /are/ ways to help prevent this from happening — including some cool innovations and simple things you can do yourself. To start, let’s talk about one of my favorite topics: gassy cows. See, as part of their digestive process, cattle produce a lot of gas — including a particular greenhouse gas called methane. This gas is emitted by natural sources like wetlands, but is also emitted by human activities like coal mining, landfills, and raising livestock.

And even though it doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide, it’s much better at trapping heat. That really makes burping and farting cows seem a lot less funny, doesn’t it? But anyway, to prevent all this methane from getting into the atmosphere, researchers at Argentina’s National Institute of Agricultural Technology developed an…interesting accessory. Meet the inflatable backpack — the hottest new trend of the season. Basically, this inflatable bag is connected to a tube running to the cows’ stomachs, which collects the gas the cows emits, which fills the bag. It’s kind of adorable in a weird, weird way… But it’s also really useful because the researchers found that the cows emitted a few hundred liters of methane every day, which can later be reused for other purposes. Go Argentina! Another awesome innovation involves turning the carbon dioxide gas into a common household item — baking soda! So get out your whisks and aprons, folks, because helping the planet is about to get a whole lot tastier! A firm called Carbon Clean Solutions is currently working with a chemical plant in India to strip carbon dioxide gas from the plant’s flue gas.

The chemical they use to do this is apparently less corrosive, less expensive, and more efficient than other chemicals that do the same thing. And even more, Carbon Clean Solutions estimates that they can capture around 60,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Previously, a process called carbon capture and storage was used where carbon dioxide is captured from power plants or industrial processes, transported, and stored in deep underground rock formations. However, this process is far from perfect and likely more expensive than it will be to turn the gas into baking soda instead. But even with these two innovations, there’s still a lot left to do. And eventually, we’ll have to stop burning fossil fuels and switch to renewable, clean energy. This will be a long process, but there’s still some simple things that you can do now to help. One is to drive less, take more public transportation, or just walk or bike places. Another is to turn off lights and unplug your electronics and maybe even invest in solar panels for your house.

We need to start saving our planet and every little effort will help. What do you do to help the planet? Let us know in the comments below. If you ever want to know what happens when a planet dies, make sure to check out this video. Make sure you come back every Monday for a brand new video. As always, I’m Blocko and this has been Life Noggin. Don’t forget to keep on thinking!.