Problem number 1. Changing of the climate
The consequences of change, namely climate warming due to greenhouse gas emissions, are becoming stronger every year. Today, the climate has warmed by one degree Celsius compared to the pre-industrial period, and in a hundred years the atmosphere will warm by as much as 3 degrees Celsius. Scientists are confident that climate change will cause sea level rise and flooding of coastal cities and islands (for example, the Maldives will completely disappear under water), melting glaciers and permafrost, droughts, forest fires, extinction of certain species of animals and plants. However, for Russia, global warming can be more of a plus than a minus – the area of land suitable for human life and growing crops will expand. To limit the pace of climate change, countries must collectively reduce mining and mass production, that is, in fact, stop their own development, which will lead to economic stagnation. So far, this conflict of interest remains unresolved.
Problem number 2. Energy production
Energy generation is a serious source of modern environmental problems. Burning fossil fuels not only emits carbon dioxide, but also darkens the sun – carbon particles do not transmit sunlight to the fullest. The main source of pollution is coal, oil and gas power plants. Alternative, renewable energy sources are being developed: solar and wind power plants, but they are unable to meet the energy needs of a number of countries. Hydrogen fuel is also being developed, but there is no talk of mass production yet due to difficulties with its transportation and storage.
Problem number 3. Water pollution
Lack of water is literally a matter of life and death, because our body is 60% water. According to environmentalists, about two billion people in the world suffer from a lack of clean drinking water. By 2030, seven hundred million people may become refugees, forced to seek a new place of residence.
The shortage of clean water is caused by its irrational use. Approximately 80% of all wastewater is not recycled and is discharged untreated into rivers and reservoirs, which leads to large-scale pollution and environmental disasters – industrial giants are especially “different”. Agriculture is doing its part, using massive amounts of pesticides and unsustainable irrigation practices that pollute lakes and rivers.
Problem number 4. Air pollution
This environmental problem should be separated from the problem of climate change. In addition to greenhouse gases, billions of chemical compounds pollute the air every day. For example, sulfur and nitrogen, which are by-products of burning coal, can cause acid rain that burns all life. Waste incineration plants throw into the air a whole periodic table, including extremely dangerous compounds – heavy metals, furans and dioxins, which adversely affect health. Chemical plants, thermal power plants, the metallurgical industry, landfills – they are all causes of air pollution. Total deforestation also contributes.
Problem number 5. Waste management
Garbage collapse awaits not only undeveloped, but also quite civilized countries, and in the very near future. The number of people on the planet is increasing, which means that the amount of waste they produce is also significantly increasing. Over thirty years, the quality of waste has also changed: if earlier household waste was organic waste – potato peels, egg shells, paper, etc., today it is 70% plastic packaging. Recycling plastic, glass, textiles, metal is not just a recommendation, but a severe necessity. So far, there is no safe way to dispose of waste: landfills poison the atmosphere with methane, and water with heavy metals; incinerators are also very hazardous to the atmosphere.
Also, the most pressing environmental problems in the world include the disappearance of species of flora and fauna, the destruction of the ozone layer (recently this process has slowed down, as countries have agreed not to use freon that is harmful to it), depletion of biological resources, radiation pollution and man-made disasters. The countries of the world can solve modern problems of ecology only together. Let’s hope that the forums and summits will be followed by concrete actions.