Carbon Footprint and Climate


Prepare a report that models different global policy approaches to climate change and recommendations for keeping climate change in check, and then create an infographic or a presentation for targeted audiences.

When solving problems, dig at the roots instead of just hacking at the leaves.

—Anthony J. D’Angelo, author

“It doesn’t matter if you win or lose—it’s how you play the game.” That phrase is used to teach children that when they play sports, it’s better for them to try their hardest and lose than it is for them not to put forth their best effort and win. It’s an outlook that focuses more on the process than on the end result. That’s important because many people (kids and adults alike) tend to focus only on their results, when how they get those results is just as important. This is especially true in the scientific community, where perfecting the process of how you get results ensures that those results are replicable by others.

Life is never free of contradictions.

—Manmohan Singh, former prime minister of India

The ozone layer is an important region of the atmosphere that protects the Earth from ultraviolet radiation. In 1985, scientists discovered a large hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica. Just two years later, an international treaty known as the Montreal Protocol called for an end to the industrial chemicals that caused the ozone hole to form. Thanks to this treaty, the hole in the ozone layer is getting smaller, and the planet is more protected from damaging radiation. But, new research suggests that the shrinking hole in the ozone layer is changing weather patterns, which is actually causing more Antarctic ice to melt (Solomon, 2019; Hoff, 2019). 

The fact that fixing the hole in the ozone layer can have both positive and negative consequences may seem contradictory, but many of the complex problems that scientists seek to solve are filled with such contradictions. This requires researchers to use unique problem-solving strategies and continually innovate as they explore alternative options to a variety of real-world issues.

Climate change is real. The science is compelling. And the longer we wait, the harder the problem will be to solve.

—John Kerry, former secretary of state 

Oh no! You’ve spilled red wine on your favorite shirt! If you grab some hydrogen peroxide and detergent quickly, you may be able to clean the stain. But, if you wait too long, the stain will set, and getting it out will be much more difficult. Unfortunately, climate change is like a stain that we have ignored and allowed to set. And while environmentalists and policymakers have been saying for years that humans need to act quickly to counteract the effects of climate change, there are still many barriers to addressing this problem.

The world is reaching the tipping point beyond which climate change may become irreversible. If this happens, we risk denying present and future generations the right to a healthy and sustainable planet – the whole of humanity stands to lose.

—Kofi Annan, former United Nations secretary-general

Which unanswered question are you most curious about? How did life first begin? Are we alone in the universe? What will Earth look like in 10,000 years? While there are many questions big and small that remain unsolved, arguably one of the most urgent unanswered questions facing scientists today is: How can we put an end to climate change? While many solutions have been proposed and implemented, the steps that we have taken so far are not enough to truly end this global threat.

 Impossible only means that you haven’t found the solution yet.

—Anonymous

Throughout this course, you’ve learned to look beyond the impossible. You’ve seen how your curiosity can guide you to solve problems big and small. You’ve discovered how to methodically search for accurate results. And you’ve explored what it takes to innovate and make real changes in the world. By studying the physical and biological sciences, you’re now better equipped to research, reason, and respond to the information that constantly bombards us.

In this assessment, you’ll continue to develop your results-driven, innovation, and problem-solving skills as you explore the importance of ethics in science, discover how to leverage your curiosity to develop creative ideas, and learn how to address problems caused by environmental changes. You’ll also continue to grow your problem-solving and innovation skills as you learn how scientists take contradictory points of view into account while finding ways to protect endangered habitats and species. You’ll explore how scientists use their problem-solving and results-driven skills as they try to break down barriers in the fight against climate change, and how you can use these same skills to grow yourself personally and professionally. You’ll look back at all you’ve learned so far and explore how your problem-solving, innovation, and results-driven skills can continue to help you approach difficult issues, consider ideas that others don’t see, and stay focused on reaching your goals. Using these skills and applying concepts from this course will help you succeed in any career, whether or not you work in the sciences.

References

Hoff, M. (2019). Keep an eye on these 2020 conservation issues. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/keep-an-eye-on-these-2020-conservation-issues/

Solomon, S. (2019). The discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02837-5

Overview

This assessment gives you an opportunity to practice your problem-solving skills and you will do this by evaluating the feasibility and impact of individual and global actions that can be taken to limit climate change and selecting the best solutions. It will show that you can identify a problem and examine possible solutions. You will be able to apply what you’ve learned about the environment and climate change to the decisions you make in your daily life, solving a larger problem like climate change by contributing on an individual level. You will also have the opportunity to consider broader changes at a global level that can impact climate change. Problem solving is a universal skill and one you will continue to refine as you progress throughout your career. This assessment asks you to use what you’ve learned throughout the course about solving real-world problems with science.

This assessment has two parts:

  • Part 1: You will first analyze and construct a proposed solution to reduce carbon footprint and affecting global climate change.
  • Part 2: You will create an infographic (using tools such as Word, Publisher, and PowerPoint) or a PowerPoint presentation based on your proposed solution to a targeted audience.

Preparation

For this assessment, use the information you gleaned by determining your carbon footprint from the EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator.

Review this scenario:

You are a junior researcher at a consulting firm that deals mainly with how world governments can effectively respond to climate change. Climate experts agree that changing our individual consumption habits can make a difference, but they also stress that climate change must be addressed as well through government policy. However, all climate policies come with their own costs and benefits; for example, greatly reducing economic development in growing countries could have dramatic human costs.

You’ve also been asked to model different global policy approaches to climate change. These approaches will be presented to you as three different situations in which some policies are favored over others. After modeling these situations, you will assess the projected temperature and then suggest additional policies to keep the overall rise within 2℃. Climate scientists agree that limiting temperature rise to this amount will help us avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Finally, you will write the results of your modeling and your recommendations for keeping climate change in check.

Use the Carbon Footprint and Climate Change Assessment Template [DOCX] to complete this assessment.

Instructions

Follow these steps to complete Part 1:

  • Step 1: Examine the factors that influence the feasibility of proposed solutions to reducing your carbon footprint.
    • What are suggested actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint based on your results?
    • Does the cost of going green limit your ability to reduce your carbon footprint?
  • Step 2: Compare and contrast existing solutions, conclusions, or approaches to reducing your carbon footprint.
    • Locate the “free” options and see how simple changes can reduce your carbon footprint.
    • Locate the “$” options and see how these approaches can reduce your carbon footprint.
    • Compare the “free” and “$” options. Which do you see as most beneficial and why? Are any of the “$” options feasible?
  • Step 3: Examine the factors that influence the feasibility of proposed scenarios for reducing global climate change.
    • We can start saving the energy from our home itself, and later can implement these things on a much wider scale at the society level, then at the city level, then district level, and finally at the country level and global level. Consider how your individual changes can impact the global climate change efforts.
  • Step 4: Summarize the most effective solution to global climate change.
    • Use the resources provided in the course text, websites, and/or articles to help summarize the most effective solutions.

Follow these steps to complete Part 2:

  • Step 5: Highlights key results from your modeling of different global policy approaches to climate change.
    • Discuss key global policy approaches and provide insights on how they are critical to reducing global climate change.
    • Identify global policies in place that you believe are most beneficial to global climate change reduction.
  • Step 6: Describe ways to address climate change issues and environmental issues at the individual level.
    • Use your analysis earlier where you constructed a proposed solution to reduce carbon footprint and affecting global climate change. What individual changes can you make that can address climate change and environmental issues?
    • Provide reasons to persuade your readers that your proposed solution will achieve the desired environmental change.
    • Describe 3–5 strategies to address climate change and environmental issues at the global level. For example, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, relying on clean energy technologies, replacing petroleum and diesel vehicles with electric and hydrogen fuel vehicles, et cetera.

You will have two deliverables for this assessment:

Additional Requirements

Your submission should meet the following requirements:

  • Written communication: Write in complete sentences free from errors that detract from the overall message.
  • Font and font size: Arial, 12 point.
  • Citations: Include complete citations of your sources. Review Evidence and APA for more information on how to cite your sources.

Competencies Measured

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the course competencies through the following assessment scoring guide criteria:

  • Competency 2: Analyze credible information to explain how science is currently solving real-world problems.
    • Analyze the factors that influence the feasibility of proposed scenarios for reducing global climate change.
    • Summarize the most effective solution to global climate change.
    • Describe ways to address climate change issues and concerns at the individual and global levels.
  • Competency 3: Analyze alternative solutions and approaches to unsolved scientific problems.
    • Analyze the factors that influence the feasibility of proposed solutions to reducing one’s carbon footprint.
    • Compare and contrast existing solutions, conclusions, or approaches for reducing one’s carbon footprint.
    • Articulate why it is important for limiting climate change to make changes to behavior on the individual level and to institute policies on an international level.
    • Highlight key results from the modeling of different global policy approaches to climate change.
  • Competency 4: Address assessment purpose in a well-organized text, incorporating appropriate evidence and tone in grammatically sound sentences.
    • Write in a well-organized and concise manner that adheres to the rules of grammar, usage, and mechanics.

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