Air pollution from Cars and its Impact on Global Warming.
Global warming is the continuing rise in the average temperature of the earth’s climate. This increase in earth temperature occurs majorly in oceans but to some degree it has occurred in the global air and sea surface. According to the intergovernmental panel on climate changes 90% of the increase in the earth’s temperature is a result of human activities that produces greenhouse gases. Any activity that produce carbon dioxide and or any other greenhouse gas contribute to global warming in a scale that depends on the amount of gas produced. In 2004, Cynthia Rosenzweig and William Solecki, members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reported: “Since the Industrial Revolution carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from about 270 parts per million (ppm) to about 370 ppm methane have also risen due to cattle production, the cultivation of rice, and release from landfills. Nearly one-third of human-induced nitrous oxide emissions are a result of industrial processes and automobile emissions” (p.2). Similarly, in the USA alone transportation sector accounted to 28% of the total greenhouse emissions in 2012.This paper attempts looks at the impact of car right away from manufacturing to disposal on global warming (Bandow, 1996).
Cars are produced in heavy industries. To run machines that are involved in the manufacturing of cars greenhouse gasses are produced. The most common gas produced is carbon monoxide which comes out as exhaust gases when fossil fuel burns. Another gas that may come out of this process is methane. This gas is produced in low contents compared to carbon four oxides but also it takes part in creating the greenhouse effect. Methane is usually produced when there in incomplete combustion of fuel (Bandow, 1996).
Another source of emission of greenhouse gases is car engine. This is mostly carbon (IV) oxide, carbon (II) oxide, nitrogen oxides, sculpture oxides, methane and tiny solid particles such as metal and soot. Some vehicles still uses leaded fuels which results to emission of lead a heavy metal to the atmosphere. Most vehicles engines are run using petro or diesels which are products of crude oil. When combustion takes place and carbon IV oxide is produce when there is complete combustion. When the engine is a faulty one combustion may not be completed and methane and carbon II oxide may be released to the atmosphere as exhaust gases (Hopkin, 2007).
For efficient running of vehicles a number of fluids are applied either as lubricants or coolants. This may include motor oil, antifreezes, gasoline and air conditioning refrigerants. When exposed to heat and oxygen these fluids undergo chemical changes. At times they may react with car engines parts depending on ware and tare status of the car engine. When this occurs they may pick up heavy metals and the resultant compound is usually detrimental to the ozone layer. Some countries are still using CFC-12 as cooling oil which leads to the depletion of the ozone layer (Aubrecht, 1988).
In heavy industries where vehicles are produced greenhouse gases are produced either directly or indirectly. Indirectly is when gas emission comes from attempts to produce power to run heavy machinery in these industries. Gas emission happens directly when it is produced by the machine used to produce the cars. When these gases are produced to the atmosphere they combine with other gases and form a blanket that stops heat from being reflected back to the space from the earth. When heat energy is radiated from earth to the space these gases reflect it back to the earth. This continued process makes the oceans, global air and seas to absorb this excess heat energy that is in the earth surface (Ring,2012).
When a car engine runs a set of gases is produced. These gases form a blanket in the atmosphere. Most of the heat energy that is emitted to the earth by the sun through the ozone layer is trapped in the earth by this blanket. Only a little heat penetrates the blanket and this affects the natural system. Most of the heat energy trapped in the earth is absorbed in oceans and this leads to rise in the water level. Currently there are very many visual effects of global warming. This includes, fast melting of glaciers and ice sheets, rising in sea level, the earlier bloom of plants, the distraction of animal habitats by floods, and interruption of migrating patterns of birds (Stevens,2008).
Exhaust gases from cars accelerates the disintegration of the ozone layer and also creates the greenhouse effect. This in turn increase the earth’s temperature and melts glaciers which have a devastating effect to human beings and animals as it submerge the costal portions of the earth which are currently occupied by human being and animals. As this ice melts away the sea levels rises and therefore more water have to flow in the land. This additional water comes as floods and some settles at animals habitats for good. These animals are forced to move to other new home and most of them die either because of drowning or even failing to adapt to their new home (Hopkin, 2007).
Heat emitted in car engines during combustion has also played a part in global warming which in turn have led to changing climate patterns. This change in climate patterns brings about drought and famine. This happens when seasons changes and farmers are unable to tell when they should plant or not. In many parts of the world where rain water is the main source of water for crops famine and drought are now very common. Other areas are experiencing opposite effects to the ones mentioned above. In these regions whenever it rains the rain is usually in excess and most of the crops are carried away by floods while the remaining ones dies off due to excess water. Warming temperature have also contributed to storms which comes very often now in most parts of the world. These storms have led to great distraction of property (Reisch, 2011). Kristen Flint (2011), in his article in the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science has confirmed that “Global warming is and will continue to have dramatic effects on aquatic life and biodiversity” (p. 16). Such effects are expected to render many animal species extinct and will endanger a few others. With solutions not being sought immediately, life on the planet may become history.
Another menace associated with global warming is the disruption of the ecosystem of the polar ice caps. These blocks of ice are a habitat to any species of wildlife such as the polar bear and the seals. These ice caps are melting into the oceans and most polar animals are not adapted to live in any other place other than the polar ice caps. If global warming continues most of these animals will also become extinct (Hopkin, 2007).
“All solutions to global warming revolve around reducing the amount of exhaust gases that we emit to the atmosphere” (Budzionowki, p.14, 2011). The first solution goes right to the industries where cars are manufactured. We can reduce the greenhouse effect and thus global warming by replacing carbon emitting sources of energy with renewable ones. These renewable sources of energy are sunlight, wind and rain. This source of energy can be harnessed using windmills and hydroelectric turbines. Using this energy will reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and therefore reduce the amount of gases emitted to the atmosphere (Belyaev, 2005). However, the potential of renewables explored so far remains limited. On the positive side, the European Renewable Energy Council (n.d.) has noted efforts to explore renewable resources: “[Since the past 30 years], development of smarter and more efficient technology has been impressive. These technologies have improved and costs have fallen dramatically” (p. 7). As research continues the future of renewable energy use looks bright.
Another factor that cannot be overlooked is the fact that the use renewable sources of energy dissipates less heat to the atmosphere compared to burning fossil fuels to produce energy. It is then easy to observe that use of renewable sources of energy will reduce the amount of heat energy released to the atmosphere and thus global warming. If these fossil fuels have to used as it seems efficient machines must be used where energy looses in form of heat and unburned gases are reduced (Budzionowki, 2011).
When it comes to addressing the global warming effect from car engines we need to come up with efficient an engine that dissipates less exhaust gases to the atmosphere. After some duration cars becomes very inefficient when it comes to the use of fuel. Most of this unburned gases are released to the atmosphere.”Governments need to come up with regulations that will render such cars unroadworthy” (Budow,p.10,1996).This have been implemented in some countries whereby you find that used vehicles from other countries cannot be imported to this countries because they are assumed to be highly pollutants. In the future scientist should explore other means of giving vehicles the driving power other than combustion (Budow, 1996) .
Another way to curb this problem is to reduce the number of cars that are in use. The government can achieve this by making it hard to own or maintain a car. If need be moral persuasion can be used where government agent sensitizes people on global warming contribution from vehicles. In some countries the government makes sure that the public means of transport are very efficient such that many people will have no need for personal cars. This public means may include electric trains which are very efficient in reducing carbon emission. It is also clear that the use of one big vehicle with a higher carrying capacity may reduce gas emission compared to a situation where many people are using personal cars (Hopkin, 2007).
Global warming is a problem without boundaries. This is a challenge the entire humanity and wildlife and therefore international laws should be formulated that will reduce global warming.” It is true that some countries are trying to curb the problem of global warming, but other are not are they are willing to achieve their economic goal at whatever the cost” (Belyaev, p.6, 2005). Vijay Mehta at The Center for Sustainability and Excellence, Greece, thus identifies that a global effort is required:
What we need is an International body directly promoting the use and dissemination of renewable energy sources under the auspices of the United Nations This body should implement a plan for adaptation, mitigation and conservation, including the promotion of technology transfer, research, public awareness, education and training. (as cited in “Climate Change and Renewable Energy”, 2002, p. 6).
Countries need to be selfless and this can only be done by a central unifying body. Nations still do not realize the importance of renewable energy sources and these have led to producing substandard cars that highly pollute the air in attempts to reduce their operating costs. To curb global warming international standards should be set that every car manufacturer must abide by otherwise the problem of global warming will get out of hand (Hosokawa, 1996).
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