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Solar solutions to a warming planet

Flamson Middle School’s solar panels take in sun everyday to provide electricity to the middle schoolers. Photo taken by Matthew Mowery, photographer.

Solar panels and geoengineering may provide options for decreasing our footprint

[dropcap size=small]S[/dropcap]olar geoengineering and decarbonizing technology could provide the solution to preserving Earth and lessen the effects of global warming. Scientists estimate that within thirty three years, humanity will have used up all its natural resources according to Daily Mail, leaving two options: find a way to make it to the nearest habitable planet, Kepler 1229b-which is 13.8 light years away- or find a way to save the Earth and its resources.  A conference between scholars was held in March 2017 to discussed ways to cool down the Earth.  The scholars came up with the idea of shooting aerosols into the stratosphere or whitening clouds to reflect sunlight back into space and agreed that it could prevent catastrophic consequences of global warming such as floods and draughts, according to the Guardian.

The project to do this involves military jets being loaded with aerosols, then flying high above the sea to spray the clouds with fine, saline mist extracted from the ocean. However, this could have catastrophic impacts, according to The Guardian. The rays would bounce off the clouds, back to scorch the atmosphere and warm the already hot carbon dioxide which could lead to floods and other “severe, widespread and irreversible impacts,” said Damian Carrington, a researcher from Copenhagen.

Other scientists suggested the use of solar panels to absorb energy from the sun and convert it into Direct Current (DC) power. DC power is then transmitted into a solar inverter and converted into alternating current (AC) power for everyday objects. Solar panels come with a utility meter that measures your electrical supply. When the solar panels absorb more energy than you use, the meter spins backwards and the power is then sent to the grid for others to use.  The next bill credits you for the power you added to the grid, according to RGS Energy.

PRHS plans to install solar panels in the parking lot, providing shade and energy to Bearcats.

Solar is beneficial for the Earth compared to fossil fuels because the solar energy does not require sourcing or burning, saves money for consumers and expected to be a reliable resource for earth for another five thousand years, according to RGS Energy.

Solar Engineering could also contribute to provide jobs to over 374,000 for Americans. The number of Solar workers rose nearly 25 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to Fortune. Solar Panel installers earn $32000-$48000 depending on experience and knowledge. Solar Photovoltaic Installers will normally get a wage of  $48,700 per annum, according to Recruiter.

Alarms concerning global warming were raised for over 22 years, according to Earth Talk, but global warming scientists were especially distressed when parts of the Arctic reached 35 degrees Fahrenheit in November 2016- normal or ideal temperatures range from -58 degrees to 14 degrees fahrenheit, according to Climate of the Arctic. Due to the increase in temperature, the rate of melting ice has reached 12 percent per decade, according to weather underground. It is estimated that the Arctic will be free of ice by 2030.

Sea levels are rising at an alarming rate of 3.2 millimeters per year, which is double the rate of the 20th century at 1.7 millimeters per year, according to Yale E360.  This reduces land massdestroys low lying fish breeding grounds and can damage coastal ecosystems, according to the Marine Stewardship Council.

Many Bearcats are surprised about how they perceive little is happening to change the situation about climate change.

Freshman Miles Mcmahnn  is an environmentally conscience Bearcat.  Mcmahnn’s greatest worry is about the decaying coral reefs.

Bearcats like freshman Miles Mcmahnn are extremely worried about the Earth. One of Mcmahnn’s greatest worries are how coral reefs around the world are dying due to acidification from carbon dioxide poisoning in the waters.

“I don’t have much faith in humanity to restore our Earth,” said Mcmahnn, who ranks himself as an eight about his worry for Earth on a scale of one to ten, “Everyone wants to help; however, not many people do. People try to use solar energy and try to move away from using nuclear energy and fossil fuels… unfortunately, it has been getting harder and harder due to the increase demand in goods such as I-Phones and other electrical devices.”

Mcmahnn turns off all his electrical devices before leaving his house and is in the process of installing solar panels. Mcmahnn’s family only uses the AC when needed and recycle almost everything that they use.

Attempts were made  to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to reverse the impacts of global warming in order to exceed the promises made at the climate summit meeting in Paris in Dec 2015, but those promises have yet to be met.

“The reality is that we may need more tools even if we achieve these goals,” said Janos Pastor, the head of the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative.

Every year, humans fill the Earth’s atmosphere with 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide, according to Bad Astronomy, making the tasks to halt the amount especially daunting to scientists. Carbon dioxide will remain in the atmosphere for a minimum of 200 years, according to the Guardian.

“Solar geoengineering could be a critical complement to mitigation,” said Eduardo Porter, an economic scene reporter for the New York Times. “This will give time to develop political will and the technologies to achieve the needed decarbonization.”  

President Donald Trump has stated repeatedly that he does not believe in global warming so he will do nothing to fund research for it. The U.S. is the world’s second largest emitter of of greenhouse gases behind China, according to the New York Times.

“If the United States starts going backwards or not going forward fast enough in terms of emission reductions,” said Pasztor, who is a former U.N. assistant secretary general on climate change. “Then more and more people will start to talk about these options.”

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