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The promotion of the windmill as non-renewable source of energy...
Mehtar Hussain and Mustaq Ahemad

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What is Global Warming?

Global Warming is defined as the increase of the average temperature on Earth. As the Earth is getting hotter, disasters like hurricanes, droughts and floods are getting more frequent.

Over the last 100 years, the average temperature of the air near the Earth´s surface has risen a little less than 1° Celsius (0.74 ± 0.18°C, or 1.3 ± 0.32° Fahrenheit). Does not seem all that much? It is responsible for the conspicuous increase in storms, floods and raging forest fires we have seen in the last ten years, though, say scientists.

Their data show that an increase of one degree Celsius makes the Earth warmer now than it has been for at least a thousand years. Out of the 20 warmest years on record, 19 have occurred since 1980. The three hottest years ever observed have all occurred in the last eight years, even.

How to Fight Global Warming
Take steps to reduce your energy use, improve efficiency and help end global warmin

The biggest cause of global warming is the carbon dioxide released when fossil fuels -- such as oil and coal -- are burned for energy. So when you save energy, you fight global warming and save money, too.

Here are some easy steps that you can take to help make a difference:

Raise your voice. Congress needs to enact new laws that cap carbon emissions and require polluters pay for the global warming gases that they produce. Send a message to your elected officials, letting them know that you will hold them accountable for what they do -- or fail to do -- about global warming. Take action here.

Choose renewable energy. Pick a Green-e-certified energy supplier that generates at least half of its power from wind, solar energy and other clean sources. If you don't have that option, look at your current electricity bill to see if you are able to support renewable energy in another way. For details, see NRDC's guide to buying clean energy.
Offset your carbon footprint. You can make up for your remaining carbon output by purchasing carbon offsets. Offsets represent clean power that you can add to the nation's energy grid in place of power from fossil fuels. Not all offset companies are alike. See our guide to carbon offsets for tips on how to choose an offset supplier.

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Choose an efficient vehicle: High-mileage cars such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids use less gas and save money. Over its lifetime, a 40-mpg car will save roughly $3,000 in fuel costs compared with a 20-mpg car. Compare fuel economy performance before you buy.
Drive smart. If all Americans kept their tires properly inflated, gasoline use nationwide would come down 2 percent. A tune-up could boost your miles per gallon anywhere from 4 to 40 percent, and a new air filter could get you 10 percent more miles per gallon. Learn more about saving fuel and money through proper car maintenance at Simple Steps.

Weatherize your home or apartment. Heating and cooling consume about 40 percent of energy in the home. Sealing drafts and making sure that your home has adequate insulation are two easy ways to become more energy-efficient. Visit Simple Steps for more tips and to learn how to take advantage of federal tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements.

Buy energy-efficient appliances. Look for the Energy Star label, which identifies the most efficient appliances. At Simple Steps, you can learn more about investing in energy-efficient products and find out which appliances and rooms in the home use the most electricity.

Replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. What's more, CFLs lower your energy bills and keep a half-ton of carbon dioxide out of the air. For more on the benefits of switching to CFLs, visit Simple Steps. Also learn about LEDs as another energy-efficient lighting alternative.

Drive less. Choose alternatives to driving such as public transit, biking, walking and carpooling, and bundle your errands to make fewer trips. Choosing to live in a walkable "smart growth" community near a transportation hub will mean less time driving, less money spent on gas and less pollution in the air. Learn more about smart growth communities.

Greenhouse Gases: Lifegivers and Lifetakers

In what seems like nature’s brutal irony, the gases that make life on Earth possible now threaten our very existence. Read our greenhouse gas profiles and find out why CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide might become benevolent climate killers — and how we can react.

A CO2 symbol aflame in front of a coal power plant in Germany. Carbon dioxide is the most important man-made warming agent (Photo: Reuters)

Greenhouse gases heat up our planet. Thy are part of Earth's atmosphere and trap warmth emitted by the sun, thus heating Earth. It is this process – the greenhouse effect – that makes life on the planet possible.

Natural greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have always been in the atmosphere. Without them, the world’s average surface temperature would be a chilly -18 degrees Celsius. Thanks to the greenhouse effect, however, we enjoy an average temperature of 14 degrees.

Throughout Earth’s history, temperatures have varied greatly, mostly depending on the concentration of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere. All signs now suggest that a major temperature change is happening again, but this time humanity is the cause. Read our gas profiles and learn more about the causes of climate change and how we can reduce them.

Technology alone will not solve energy crisis
The world must not miss its second chance to take a radically different approach to energy consumption.

There is a strong sense of déjà vu in the bleak picture that the International Energy Agency (IEA) –– sometimes described as "the rich world's energy watchdog" –– painted last week of likely global energy consumption over the next two decades, and its consequences for climate change (see 'China, India must adopt sustainable energy plans').

In the early 1970s, open conflict between the Arab states and Israel set oil prices skyrocketing. Simultaneously, the Club of Rome and other organisations warned that the world risked running out of many key natural resources. Both led to widespread calls for massive investment in alternative renewable-energy sources, and for new, non-energy-intensive lifestyles.

Renewables the way forward for India

Small loans let poor people buy solar panels

NREL / West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency

India should retool its economy to run on renewable energy, creating millions of jobs and raising the standard of living, says Anil K. Rajvanshi.

The global economic downturn provides an excellent opportunity to improve India's energy supplies, which are critical to supporting better infrastructure and driving growth, argues Rajvanshi. The increasing number of qualified engineers and scientists remaining in India, or returning from the United States, should be used in the renewable energy sector, he says.

India predicts it will need an extra 75,000 megawatts of electricity-generating capacity by 2012. The country produces around 600 million tonnes of agricultural residue each year — if only half of this was available for use in biomass-based power plants, it would still produce 40,000 megawatts of energy, says Rajvanshi. And the shortfall could be made up through solar and wind energy, he adds.

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