Global warming is the result of wasting resources and energy. Rising ocean levels, melting ice, and warmer cities are the result of missed opportunities to work with nature.
The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed only changed in form. Consider the earth as an enclosed thermal system. Any heat energy that is added to the system must equal the heat escaping or global temperatures will increase.
Burning fossil fuels, nuclear fusion, or mechanical work to create heat are examples of energy changing states. Potential energy, previously sequestered underground, is brought to the surface and released into the atmosphere. In much the same way, the potential energy stored in an atom's nucleus is released during fission reactions at nuclear power plants. Energy used for motors or engines becomes heat. The end result for either method is the same. Heat is added to the Earth's system.
Energy obtained from sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, moving water, tidal action and other alternative sources does not add significant heat to the system. Our goal must be to reduce the total amount of heat generated on the planet and to harvest the energy coming in.
Some solutions to reduce the amount of waste heat and pollution contributing to global warming:
Applying these steps can make a major contribution to solving our problems and improving our quality of life.
World War II taught us how to innovate quickly. In less than a decade we advanced to nuclear power and computers. The space race and subsequent research and development brought us advances in material science and new technologies such as the solar cell and the fuel cell. The energy utilization challenge is equally important and deserving. It should excite our best local and national efforts.