Carbon "Kidprints"


Any efforts to adapt and mitigate climate change, whether by an individual, community, or nation will have economic, sociological, scientific, and political ramifications. IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 2007 report states that the global atmospheric concentration of CO2 increased from a pre-industrial value of about 280 ppm to 379 ppm in 2005. The annual CO2 concentration growth rate was larger from 1995 to 2005 (average: 1.9 ppm per year) than it had been since the beginning of continuous direct atmospheric measurements (1960-2005 average: 1.4 ppm per year), although there is year-to-year variability in growth rates.

For the most recent monthly atmospheric CO2 concentrations go to or to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s website. Monthly concentrations are recorded and compared to that month’s concentrations over the past two years, with atmospheric CO2 levels graphed since 1958. As you review these sites, think about some of the solutions and technologies available today that can help cut emissions of heat-trapping gases.

This article, "NASA Says: Automobiles Largest Net Climate Change Culprit," provides yet another compelling reason why taking personal action and changing energy-use behavior on an individual level is critical to slowing the rate of climate change. How feasible do you think it would be to live without cars and "transform our transportation and urban systems"?

What adaptations to global climate change do you think would be most critical? Table 4.1: "Selected Examples of Planned Adaptations by Sector" from IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 2007 report lists possible adaptations, strategies and constraints. Which of these adaptations do you think would perhaps be needed in the area in which you live?

In Table 4.2: "Selected Examples of Key Sectoral Mitigation Technologies, Policies and Measures, Constraints and Opportunities" from IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 2007 report you will find mitigation technologies, policies or measures that might be applicable to your local area. Besides capturing carbon, what other mitigation efforts and ideas are possible? Would they work in your community?

Watch the video “Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation” from PBS LearningMedia to learn more about the roles of mitigation and adaptation in responding to climate change. Take note of the specific examples of actions humans can take as individuals and as a society and relate these actions to your own personal life.

Read this interview from the NOVA/FRONTLINE Special Report: "What's Up with the Weather?" In the interview, physics professor Martin Hoffert advocates the need for developing alternative energy sources beyond the fossil fuels we currently rely on for electricity and powering our vehicles.

Beginning with individual energy and resource consumption, families and schools can scale up their adaptation/mitigation activity, with significant positive impact on carbon emissions. Watch this "Energy Sources" video for an introduction to alternative and renewable energy resources.

You may wish to explore more resources from PBS LearningMedia on renewable energy and ways to cut your carbon footprint.

Climate mitigations and adaptations are controversial topics. Why do you think mitigating and adapting to global climate change is a controversial idea for some people?

Global Climate Change Modules

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