Write an Essay On Climate Change
How green chemistry contributes to the prevention of global warming
Introduction – Write an Essay On Climate Change
It will be discussed how green engineering and green chemistry contributes to the prevention of global warming and environmental pollution from toxic chemicals. In doing so, academic opinion, legislative provisions and international principles will be examined through the use of textbooks, journal articles, law reports, governmental reports and statutory documents. Once all of the applicable information has been gathered a conclusion will be drawn showing that, although green engineering and green chemistry does help to address the problems caused by toxic chemicals, much more could be done to ensure that the concepts of the green industry are being adopted by all. How this is to be achieved is unclear but it is manifest that the green industry is vital to the development of a sustainable environment.
Causes of Global Warming – Write an Essay On Climate Change
1. Environmental Pollution
Global warming and environmental pollution is caused from toxic chemicals and global markets as a result of individual and collective behaviour. This was identified by ThinkQuest (2002: 1) when they stated that; “Global warming happens when greenhouse gases trap heat and light from the sun in the earth’s atmosphere, which increases the temperature.” Accordingly, because global warming and environmental pollution results from human activity it can be prevented by prohibiting activities that will adversely affect the environment.
Many changes have been made in recent years that are primarily aimed at tackling environmental problems, yet it is questionable whether these have proven sufficient, given that global warming and environmental pollution still occurs. Hence, it has therefore been pointed out by Bell and McGillivray (2008; p. 277) that; there should be greater control over “ecological and/or biological systems for business or personal advantage.” There are many different ways to control the environment including the use of alternative energy sources and the reduction of carbon footprints, yet this involves cooperation amongst individuals and companies which is often difficult to attain.
Much complexity will therefore arise when trying to tackle environmental problems. This is unfortunate given the dangers of climate change and whilst it has only recently become recognised as a serious problem, unless there is effective regulation within this area, a sustainable environment will not be maintained.
2. Overview of Green Engineering and Green Chemistry – Write an Essay On Climate Change
Significant emphasis has been placed upon the creation of a ‘greener’ environment in recent years. Because of this, corporations across the globe have implemented various changes to ensure that the activities which they conduct are environmentally friendly. Despite this, “engineers and scientists worldwide are leading the charge to address one of the largest challenges society faces, and they have the unique opportunity to make a bigger impact on the environment than any government policy” (NI, 2012: 1).
This is clearly evident through the establishment of green engineering and green chemistry which has been considered to be one of the most effective ways of generating a sustainable environment (Author, 2008: 607). This is because, both green engineering and green chemistry “seek to maximise efficiency and minimize health and environmental hazards throughout the chemical production process” (Mulvill et al, 2011: 271).
This ensures that a sustainable environment can be maintained by controlling global warming and environmental pollution more efficiently. The Centre for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale (2012a: 1) thus seeks to “advance sustainability by catalyzing the effectiveness of the Green Chemistry and Green Engineering community.” This is achieved by advancing the science, raising awareness, catalyzing implementation and preparing the next generation.
The Centre thereby supports the research and development of the science by acting as a catalyst to the green engineering and chemistry communities.
Green Engineering – Write an Essay On Climate Change
Green engineering seeks to minimize pollution and reduce the risks created by toxic chemicals through the “development and commercialisation of industrial processes that are economically feasible” (Centre for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, 2012b: 1). One of the main objectives of green engineering is therefore to reduce and manage waste more economically. This is vital given the increased amount of waste that is being generated each year: “current global municipal solid waste (MSW) generation levels are approximately 1.3 billion tonnes per year and are expected to increase to approximately 2.2 billion tonnes per year by 2025” (World Bank: 2011: 8). This is a substantial amount of waste and unless the pollution that is created from this is reduced, global warming will be greatly increased. Green engineers have attempted to prevent this from happening, nonetheless, by using only low toxic chemicals. Not only does this reduce manufacturing costs, but it also limits chemical exposure to the environment. Risk assessment practices are also being adopted so that the environmental impacts of certain toxic chemicals can be measured and so that a determination as to which chemicals need to be eliminated or avoided can be made. Engineers also “assess feed and recycle streams based on risk and not volume within a chemical process and design greener products and processes” (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2011: 1). All of these processes evidently contribute to the development of a sustainable environment which helps to eliminate global warming.
The green engineering principles, as established by Anastas and Zimmerman (2003: 94), have been welcomed by all and as asserted by Abraham (2006, 8); “the Principles of sustainable engineering provide a paradigm in which engineers can design products and services to meet social needs with minimal impact on the global ecosystem.” This is highly desirable given the concerns surrounding global warming and whilst the principles do not provide engineers with a definitive process for creating a sustainable product, they do provide them with a conceptual framework that can be followed when developing new products and services. This helps to reduce global warming and environmental pollution that is created from toxic chemicals and global markets. Conversely, it is unlikely that the current environmental problems will be completely eradicated by the use of these principles alone which is why international co-operation is imperative. It is unlikely that international co-operation will be maintained, however, because of the economic costs this will incur. Accordingly, “co-operation is unlikely to be sustained when each individual country calculates that if it were to defect from the agreement on its own, with others continuing to abide by the agreement, the benefits of defecting would outweigh the benefits of participation” (Bosetti and Frankel, 2011: 25). Consequently, whilst green engineering is beneficial to the global economy it is unclear whether every country is adopting its principles within the development of new products and services and because of this, global warming and environmental pollution is likely to remain.
Green Chemistry – Write an Essay On Climate Change
Green chemistry is a concept of chemical research which is similar to green engineering in that it encourages those designing new products and processes to minimise their use of toxic chemicals. Nevertheless, “green chemistry principles and metrics can influence the entire life cycle of a chemical from design through disposal” (Mulvill et al, 2011: 271). This allows it to minimise the risks associated with environmental hazards a lot better because of the fact that hazardous substances can be eliminated at source. This enables environmental problems to be avoided before they actually happen which is exactly what the United States 1990 Pollution Prevention Act aimed to achieve in its attempts to promote sustainability. Accordingly, the 1990 Act enhanced the focus that was being placed upon pollution prevention by making it clear that source reduction was a lot more effective in advancing sustainability pollution control and management. This is because; source reduction prevents hazardous substances from being released into the environment at first instance, whereas pollution control and management merely seeks to control toxic chemicals after they have already been released. Green chemistry is therefore significantly important in helping to eliminate global warming and environmental pollution which is necessary in today’s society where the chemical’s industry is severely affecting the environment. Hence, there is a global demand for less reliance to be placed upon the use of fossil fuels and for the adoption of greener manufacturing processes. Green chemistry thereby helps to alleviate such reliance by assisting in the development of a low carbon economy.
Sustainability – Write an Essay On Climate Change
Whilst green engineering and green chemistry helps to promote sustainability, it is unlikely that global warming and environmental pollution will be completely eradicated as a result of these implementations. This is because, although its effects will be minimised; “some experts worry that they will not go far enough” (Graham-Rowe, 2005: 1). This is widely due to the difficulties associated with international co-operation since it cannot be said that all individuals and organizations will adopt the concepts of green engineering and chemistry. Hence, “there is no legal requirement on scheme operators to undertake calibration which is commonplace by international hydrometric standards” (Pillai et al, 2005: 2). In view of this, it cannot be said that the underlying concepts of green engineering and chemistry will be followed. As a result, it is important that the issues surrounding global warming and environmental pollution are addressed more appropriately so that the global economy can be sufficiently protected. This is important not only for present generations but also for future generations because as noted by Bell and McGillivray (2008: 55); “sustainable development meets the needs of the present without comprising the ability of future generations.” Consequently, unless the environment is kept as naturally as possible through the prevention of pollution, future generations will suffer and sustainability will not be maintained. Further regulation of this area is needed so that the concepts aimed at helping the environment are upheld.
This is because, it cannot be determined at present whether the green concepts are being adhered to and unless individuals fully co-operate, individuals and organizations will continue to damage the environment. Essentially, the uses of toxic chemicals are major causes for concern and unless the environment is managed more effectively, pollution will continue to ensue. More stringent regulatory practices could be implemented so that the use of toxic chemicals is minimized by adopting the concepts of green engineering and green chemistry. A sustainable environment would be created if this were to take effect because as put forward by Lancaster (2010: 304): “The chemical industry is a key solution provider on the road to sustainability.” He went on to further add that: “An independent study has shown that, on average, for every tonne of greenhouse gas emitted during chemical production three tones are saved by society by using products of the chemical industry” (Lancaster, 2010: 304-305). This clearly highlights the advantages the chemical industry can bring to the environment and illustrates that green engineering and green chemistry do help alleviate global warming and environmental pollution. The impacts of the chemical industry would, nevertheless, be greater if more efficient regulation was in place which signifies the need for change within this area.
Overall, global warming and environmental pollution caused from toxic chemicals has been extremely concerning in recent years. This is because, unless the problems associated with the environment are addressed, a sustainable environment will not be maintained. This will not only affect the present generation but it will also affect future generations. Because of this, it is vital that something is done to ensure that less toxic products are used when developing new products. Green engineering and green chemistry has proven to be one of the most effective ways of generating a sustainable environment and therefore needs to be adopted by all. It is likely that international co-operation would prove difficult, yet international standards could be implemented which ensure that the concepts created by the green industry are conformed to. This would enable waste to be reduced and managed more effectively and sustainability would be created. Consequently, unless applicable changes are made to this area, global warming and environmental pollution will become a bigger problem. As such, it is imperative that the solutions provided for by the chemical industry are followed by all because as was recognised, the chemical industry is a key solution to achieving sustainability.
Abraham, M. A. (2006). Sustainability Science and Engineering: Defining Principles, Elsevier.
Anastas, P. T. and Zimmeran, J. B. (2003). Design through the Twelve Principles of Green Engineering, Environmental Science and Technology Journal, Issue 5, Volume 37.
Author, A. (2008). Fusing Green Chemistry and Green Engineering: DesignBuild at the Molecular Level, Green Chemistry Journal, Issue 6, Volume 10.
Bell, S. and McGillivray, D. (2008), Environmental Law, 7th edition, Oxford University Press.
Bosetti, V. and Frankel, J. (2011). Sustainable Co-operation in Global Climate Policy: Specific Formulas and Emission Targets to Build on Copenhagen and Cancun, United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Reports, Research Paper 2011/07.
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Graham-Rowe, G. (2005). Hydroelectric Power’s Dirty Secret Revealed, New Scientist, [Online] Available: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7046-hydroelectric-powers-dirty-secret-revealed.html [06 December 2012].
Lancaster, M. (2010). Green Chemistry: An Introductory Text, 2nd Edition, Royal Society of Chemistry.
Mulville, M. J. Beach, E. S. Zimmerman, J. B. and Anastas, P. T. (2011). Green Chemistry and Green Engineering: A Framework for Sustainable Technology Development, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Volume 36.
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Pillai, A. Reid, C. T. and Black, A. R. (2005) Reconciling Renewable Energy and the Local Impacts of Hydro-Electric Development, Environmental Law Review, Issue 2, Volume 7.
ThinkQuest. (2002), Global Warming, Oracle Education Foundation, [Online] Available: http://library.thinkquest.org/CR0215471/global_warming.htm [05 December 2012].
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