General Question

Drewseph's avatar

What can we do to stop global warming?

Asked by Drewseph (533points) October 9th, 2010

And is global warming actually real?

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31 Answers

Qingu's avatar

Yes, global warming is real. Humans burn tons and tons of fuel, especially since the Industrial Revolution, that release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases trap heat on Earth, raising temperatures. The temperature increase has been measured and directly correlates to human activity.

You’ve probably heard that Earth goes through climate cycles, which is true (it’s been much hotter—and colder—in the past).

The problem with global warming is not necessarily that the earth is getting hotter; it’s the speed at which temperatures are increasing. It is very difficult for species—including the human species—to adapt to sudden changes.

Global warming is not going to threaten human civilization. Rich westerners with internet access will survive. The people who will be harmed the most are poor people in coastal or marginal areas who will need to become migrants to survive.

What can we do to stop global warming? As an individual, use less energy—try to drive less, use energy efficient lights, etc. But really, what needs to happen is comprehensive policy that taxes fossil fuels and invests in cleaner, renewable energy. And even then, a lot of damage has already been done. The best we can hope for is to slow down the changes that are already taken place. I also think we ought to support the impoverished people that global warming will displace and/or make miserable.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Regarding if its real or not. well, Moscow that is usually covered in snow was recently on fire from 100 degree temperatures, pakistan is under water, haiti is a pile of rubble, and almost every week or two there seems to be a new disaster. not to mention that about 96% of scientists all say its happening and have data to back it up.

what can we do? not much. its pointless for you to get a solar panel and recycle your trash, and get low energy light bulbs, if large companies are going to insist on pumping out a metric ton of crap each couple of seconds.

really we all need to get on board if anything is going to work, from the individual to the big corporation. us humans have a nasty habit of putting off until tomorrow what we could have done today. and this is a problem you cant exactly put off. all you need to do is look at venus to see how bad it could get.

personally, i would look in to ways of killing off co2 producing microbes, reducing the amount of cows and other farm animals there are, and putting new laws in to place to make sure we do our bit too. but if im honest, looking at how big companies and people in general behave, (including my self) i would say that we have met our match.

Your_Majesty's avatar

We can decrease half of the entire human population. It’s us who make all this disaster and as long as there are more and more people (more than those who are aware and responsible) that cause destruction in this world there won’t be any chances that we’re going to ‘cure’ this world. All we can do is just delay the destruction. Population of human beings are polluting this world from time to time.

Nullo's avatar

We could stop further industrialization, but I don’t think that the Indians and the Chinese would be very happy about that.

Coloma's avatar

Stop the overpopulation of humans, leave the farm animals alone.

HungryGuy's avatar

It’s real, but it’s highly debatable whether it’s caused by human behavior, or a natural phenomenon that would have occurred anyway. The earth goes through a regular cycle of heating and cooling. In either case, it’s probably something that should be averted.

What can we do? Use more nuclear. Encourage more businesses, such as big box stores, malls, and office buildings (structures with vast expanses of flat roofs) to cover their roofs with solar panels. Encourage homeowners to use light colored substances for roofing materials. Dye “blacktop” with a light colored reflecting material used in roads.

MeinTeil's avatar

Listen to the experts that understand it’s all a huge hoax.

Coloma's avatar


I don’t believe it is a hoax.

Simple common sense, mass industry, mass populaton, mass fuel consumption, well shit…of course the planet is going to bend under the strain in ways we can’t even imagine.

We may not perish as a species in our lifetime, but oh yes, the damage we are doing to the earth and it’s environment IS real.

Brian1946's avatar

Another thing we can do is turn the tide back on deforestation.

One of the major contributing gases to global warming is carbon dioxide, and AFAIK, the vast majority of plant life takes in CO2 and gives off oxygen.

The more plant life we have to take in CO2, the less that will be released into our atmosphere.

One thing we can do locally in that regard is plant a tree.
That’s why I’m glad I got lazy and decided to keep my 40’ tall Dutch elm, instead of replacing her with a swimming pool.

Coloma's avatar


I agree! I live in a mountain community and it makes me sick to see the logging trucks every day loaded with beautiful old growth trees.

rooeytoo's avatar

Yes it’s happening. Is it another cyclical climate change or are humans responsible – a common sense approach says, some of both. But when there are knee jerk reactions this is what happens. A concrete manufacturing plant in Australia could not meet the new stringent environmental requirements so it shut down putting approximately 200 people in one community out of work. But the worst part is that now the concrete is being brought in from India where there are no environmental requirements. Now what was accomplished??? Actually there is more pollution being produced plus it now has to be transported from India to here.

I think humans have to speak with their dollar. Stop buying products that are destroying the earth such as plastic (which is made from petroleum) bottles, wraps, bags, etc.. If every individual boycotted bad products the tide could turn without scenarios such as above being enacted.

Brian1946's avatar



That’s terrible.
I don’t think I’ve seen anything from any of the environmental groups that I subscribe to about saving old growth forest in your area. :-0

I think the last one was about protecting the Tongass NF in Alaska.

Coloma's avatar


Lots of huge Cedars and pines, Oaks up here.

I don’t know exactly where the harvesting takes place but I see at least one truck a day with probably 10 giant trees.

I’d say county wide the loggers must be moving dozens of trucks a day. :-(

Brian1946's avatar


Do you think the forest where they’re harvesting could be the Toiyabe?

Coloma's avatar


It is all part of the El Dorado Natl. forest which covers multiple thousands of acres from the foothills of Nor. Ca. to the Nevada border.

Harold's avatar

To stop something it has to exist first…............

The only scientists you are allowed to hear are the ones who support it. All the others are put to the sword by the vocal supporters and the press, and their arguments are stopped from being put to the public.

Any climate change is part of a natural cycle, and if it is being measured as bit hotter now, in a few years it will be colder again. It has all happened before.

Les's avatar

Stupid SunChips… Bring back the noisy bag! That was a good way to help solve the problem.

Coloma's avatar


Yes, of course, there has been drastic climatic shifts for eons..BUT…this planet has never been as heavy with population and pollution as it has been this century. The sheer volume of humanity and the resources to support such are staggering!

Undoubtedly we are ramping up the earth and atmospheres tolerance levels far beyond the ability for them to repair themsleves.

It’s called critical mass and we are teetering on the edge.

Oh yes we are!

Carbon Footprints?

Hell…more like carbon bulldozers. lol

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Quite honestly, I have no idea if global climate change is being sped up or not, but I’m betting that it is. Unless we have the time and money to invest in lobbying or starting up a company with alternative methods (which my dad did), it comes down to the little changes.

Utilize recycling as much as you can. This not only includes what you send out (glass, plastics, paper), but what you bring in. Shop for second-hand clothes, existing furniture, purchase an existing house vs. building a new one, etc. I’ve spent the past year looking at every piece of mail that comes in and calling or e-mailing companies to take me off of their mailing list with the caveat of saving them money on printing and postage. Go to a library and take out a book on going green and see what is applicable to your lifestyle.

Plucky's avatar

Yes, it’s very real. Just turn on the news the weather…step outside.

The sad thing is that it is very hard to really bring about positive change as an individual (If only 1 person out of 10 000 watches their carbon footprint ..there won’t be much of a difference). The type of change the earth requires needs to come from governments. And, I truly believe these changes need to be drastic.

But, that being said, as individuals we can also step up and demand change (If 7000 people in that same 10 000 demanded change ..the “powers that be” would have to listen.

Even though it’s a bit of reach ..I still have some hope.

matt2001's avatar

its a farce with no science backing it. Why must they lie if its true? Its only used to promote socialism.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Qingu's avatar

@MeinTeil, nearly every single expert thinks human-caused global warming is real.

@matt2001, what have “they” lied about? Please be specific.

@Harold, may I ask what your qualifications are to draw such a conclusion? If global warming is part of a cycle, why is the earth heating up much faster than in any previous cycle? How do you explain the fact that this heating is directly correlated with a human-caused increase of greenhouse gases?

toaster's avatar

I think to a limited extent yes, although more than conservative figures would have you believe. It’s true the main contributing factor is the natural biology and geology of the world. This alone would present trending conditions of a warming/cooling period, although humanity has accelerated this process. These acts are usually shown to us through the media as coal/fossil fuel extraction/burning, industrialization, and engine combustion, although I think agriculture/deforestation plays a more decisive role.
All in all, our presence in the world is a true reckoning force on a global scale

Nullo's avatar

The sad truth is that it would be impossible to enact such measures as some think would curb global warming without making tremendous sacrifices to our lifestyles.

flutherother's avatar

In my own experience autumn used to be in full swing in the first week of October. It is now 10 October and it has hardly begun. Something is happening and it is happening quite quickly in terms of the planet’s timescale. Are we to ‘blame’. Probably. What can we do about it? Well we already know but we obviously aren’t going to do it. There would be economic and political implications and few politicians can see beyond the next four years. What was that old Chinese curse? Oh yes ‘may you live in interesting times’.

Coloma's avatar

It has been said that we have made more ‘progress’ in this last century than in the previous 5000 years!

Depends on one’s definition of ‘progress’ which, for me, links in to the old Sam Clemens ditty about ” Progress was once a fine thing but it has gone on far too long.” Love it! And true!

mattbrowne's avatar

Innovate like hell.

Tell our 18-year olds to study science and engineering.

Stop wasting our time by creating ignorant and stupid hoax websites like and

AdamF's avatar

“What can we do to stop global warming?”

I’ll rephrase it a little if you don’t mind, “What can we do to stop anthropogenic climate change?”

We have to reduce our emissions (via the burning of fossil fuels, forest destruction etc..) of greenhouse gases by at least 50%. Currently natural sinks appear to take approximately 50% of our annual emissions out of the atmosphere. As such, as long as we emit more than what can be dealt with by natural sinks, then the percentage of GHG’s will continue to increase in the atmosphere. Think of it as a bathtub with a drain hole that can expel a volume of water about half of that which is coming out of the tap.

As such, dropping our collective annual emissions by 20% will slow the rate of increase of atmospheric ghg (or water in the bathtub), but it will not stop climate change. The other thing to remember is that even if we stopped emitting today, there is a large amount of climate inertia, in other words, temperature in the pipeline. This has been estimated to be about 0.6 C of warming last time I checked.

And…there are natural carbon sinks which have potential tipping points and feedbacks. The more we increase global temperatures, the higher the probability that such feedbacks kick in, which are likely to escalate warming further.

So to stop anthropogenic climate change requires global action (hence the push for global climate treaties), and the need for public understanding of the scientific evidence for climate change with associated pressure on governments – to press for rapid reductions in GHG emissions.

Then comes the waiting game to see exactly where global climate stabilize before coming back to the general state of affairs modern civilization evolved with.

Two points: 1) The numbers for natural forcings (ie. solar output, volcanic eruptions, axial tilt, ENSOs) simply can’t account for recent warming, whereas GHGs do.

2) Several aspects including cooling in the stratosphere, increasing nighttime temperatures relative to daytime temperatures, the increase in downward longwave infrared radiation and a decrease in upward longwave infrared radiation with the spectral signatures of ghgs; are all direct supportive evidence for the dominate contribution anthropogenic ghgs are making to recent climate change.

JBrown's avatar

The only way out is alternative energy sources!
We have to care about it now already, just imagine what will happen when we will not be able to refuil our cars and track. Start using subway?!

HungryGuy's avatar

If you own land, plant trees. This is something simple and easy that anyone can do. Trees are a wonderful carbon sink. If you own a lot of land, like several acres, plant different types of trees. Fast-growing trees, like poplars, will trap a lot of carbon quickly. Slow-growing and long-living trees will remove carbon at a slower rate, but will keep their carbon locked up for a long time.

Also, DO NOT BUY cut Christmas trees!!! Buy a tree with roots in a ball, and plant it after the holidays (you’ll need to dig a hole now before the ground freezes).

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