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Mitigation of Global Warming

The consensus among climate scientists that global temperatures will continue to increase has led nations, states, corporations and individuals to implement actions to try to curtail global warming. Some of the strategies that have been proposed for mitigation of global warming include:

  • development of new technologies
  • carbon offsets and carbon taxes
  • renewable energy such as biodiesel, wind power, solar power and nuclear power
  • electric or hybrid automobiles
  • energy conservation
  • improving natural carbon dioxide sinks
  • deliberate large-scale production of sulfate aerosols (which produce a cooling effect on the Earth)
  • population control
  • nanotechnology

Many environmental groups encourage individual action against global warming, often aimed at the consumer. Much of this involves simply raising awareness about the issue, and offering action steps that an individual can take, from small changes in purchasing habits and daily living to more comprehensive shifts in overall lifestyle. Al Gore's high profile documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth", has proved instrumental in opening the eyes of both policy makers and the general public towards global warming and the role that humans have played in it, as well as offering positive steps humans can take to curtail it. The best-known mitigation policy plan to date is the Kyoto Protocol, ratified by most countries in the world including Canada, though not the United States and Australia.

A Canadian Success Story

The Drake Landing Solar Community in Okotoks, Alberta is Canada's first fully solar community, and perhaps the first of its kind anywhere in North America. All 52 homes have solar panels mounted on garage roofs and breezeways, and a system of well-insulated pipes that link every home to a common "power plant" - basically an underground reservoir to recycle all that warmed liquid on a wintry day. Built to the highest R-2000 insulation standards and warmed by the reliable prairie sun, these houses are at least 30 per cent more energy efficient than the average Canadian home and are expected to reduce annual, climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions by five tons per household.

The Okotoks project has already won three environmental awards, including one from the UN. However, the big question still remains: Will Okotoks be the solar ice-breaker its proponents are hoping for? Or is it just an oddity in a nation becoming known for its gluttonous energy habits?

Solar panels on rooftop

Solar cells are devices or banks of devices that use the photo-voltaic effect of semiconductors to generate electricity directly from sunlight.

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