Analysis on Are Electric Cars Better For the Environment

The phrase that I have heard a lot during last few mounths is that electric cars better for the environment. It sounds obvious, however in this essay I decided to dive deeper and understand the current state of the problem with air pollution, greenhouse gasses and how e-vehicles can change this situation. 

Greenhouse gasses is the name used to group any form of air pollutant that harms the global temperature and environment. A greenhouse gas is any gas that has the capacity of absorbing heat and energy that is emitted from the earth’s surface. The major greenhouse gasses that affect the planet today are: Water vapour, carbon dioxide, and methane. Greenhouse gasses contribute significantly to climate change because greenhouse gasses form a thick layer of pollution that becomes stuck in the earth’s atmosphere. Because these pollutants become stuck it means that the other gasses are trapped in the atmosphere. When the air pollutants reach the atmosphere the greenhouse gasses absorb the heat whilst sunlight travels through. Because the greenhouse gasses absorb the heat this keeps heat within the atmosphere, which results in climate change.

Solar panels are a step towards reducing global greenhouse emissions because they are made of photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity, and the electricity created by the sun is then stored into the batteries that power the house. Because solar energy relies on sunlight it makes solar energy a renewable and clean source of energy because the sun is a source that doesn’t run out. When comparing solar energy and fossil fuels for a household it is clear that fossil fuels are a lot more harmful to the environment, every kilowatt that is installed lowers the carbon footprint of the household by over 3,000 pounds or 1360 kilograms. The average solar panelled household has five kilowatts installed so that means a reduction of 15,000 pounds or 6803.66 of carbon emissions. When fossil fuels are burned, they release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which becomes trapped in the atmosphere. In 2021 coal (40%), oil (32%), natural gasses (21%) and cement (5%) were the primary sources of fossil fuels that were produced globally and the remaining 2% percent were many numbers of fossil fuels. Australia is ranked 14th highest in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and contributes just over 1% of emissions. In 2021 Australia’s highest contributing factors towards its production of greenhouse gases were: Energyelectricity (33.6%), stationary energy including thinks like manufacturing and mining (20.4%), transport (17.6%), agriculture (14.6%), fugitive emissions (10%), industrial processes (6.2%), and waste (2.7%).

Vehicles are a contributor to global greenhouse emissions; this is because the fuel that is used to power vehicles becomes a fossil fuel once it has processes through the exhaust pipe, it is then released into the atmosphere. Motor vehicles produce carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, and benzene into the atmosphere. On average an Australian will drive 13.5 thousand kilometres in a year and emits 2.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Environmentally friendly alternatives to fuel powered cars are the best strategies to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions from cars. Alternatives are simple and can include things like: walking, biking, taking a bus, if travelling with a group take the one car, and electric and hybrid vehicles. Electric cars are the best possible alternative because they produce no tailpipe emissions, even if fossil fuels are used for electric cars the production is significantly lower than that of a fuel powered car, and electric cars are made of eco-friendly materials.

The livestock and the agriculture tycoon have some of the direst contributions towards the production of greenhouse gases. Globally, livestock produce 14.5% of all greenhouse gases within a year, and cows alone produce approximately half of that 14.5%. A study conducted by the University of California reports that cows produce 220 pounds or 99.7 kilograms of methane every year. Sarah Kaplan of the Washington Post states “If cows were their own country, they would be the third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world”. The best and most sustainable strategy to reduce greenhouse emissions produced by cows and other livestock is a change to one’s diet. Many people in the world have taken to a change in diet in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint. A study conducted by Oxford University showed that a change to a vegan diet can reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by 73%. Switching to a vegan diet can help to conserve approximately 200,000 gallons of water per year, it can reduce agricultures production of greenhouse gases by anywhere between 7-14%, studies suggest that if everyone on earth had a vegan diet, then we would see a 70% decline in emissions, such a decrease is even believed to reverse some of the effects of climate change we have already seen. The agriculture business produces about 32 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, and if the entire world went vegan there would be another 70% decline in this number, dropping to 9.6 billion.

Agriculture is rapidly becoming a massive problem in regards to greenhouse gas emissions. As the global population continues to increase every day, the global demands for meat also increase, and farmers are finding that they don’t have the space to be able to home these excess animals. This has been leading to deforestation as hundreds of trees are cut down every day so that farmers are able to expand their agriculture tycoons. Deforestation and greenhouse gases link because when a tree is cut down, the carbon dioxide that is stored within the tree is released and goes up into the atmosphere. Strategies helpful to mitigate the effects of deforestation on global warming include: plant a tree anywhere you go, individually or there are groups dedicated to planting trees. Limit use of paper whenever possible. Buy certified wood products and avoid the use of palm oil and products that contain it.

To end up, there have been many strategies that have been developed in hopes that global greenhouse gas emissions may be reduced. It is going to nothing short of a global effort that involves every single individual on the earth to take the responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint be able to see positive things happen. It is by no means too late to be able to reverse the effects that greenhouse gasses have had on the world, even the smallest of things can help greatly, for example, instead of going on a full-on vegan diet, a vegetarian diet and even a pollotarian diet have been proven to largely reduce carbon footprints. Therefore, there are a whole bunch of ways to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint in ways that don’t involve what has been listed above.

11 February 2023
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