Climate change is a global issue that has posed a significant threat to both humanity and biodiversity. Focusing on the Queensland Australian community, the area experiences many climate change threats (Dale et al., 2016). The rate of industrialization in this area is very high, thus leading to increased greenhouse gasses emission, which has caused climate change in the area. This has made the people and biodiversity available in this area to be vulnerable to climate change impacts. The people and biodiversity in Queensland level of exposure and susceptibility to the effects of climate change is quite high due to the high production of greenhouse gases (Dale et al., 2016). Although Queensland has managed to minimize greenhouse gasses emissions by 15%, the rate of greenhouse gases emissions is high. The high rate of greenhouse gases emission continues to pose a risk to humans, biodiversity, and the environment (Queensland Government Statistician’s Office, n.d.). Therefore, this calls for mitigation of greenhouse gases produced to minimize or eliminate the imminent danger of climate change on humans’ health and biodiversity. Queensland can respond to this issue by mitigating the rate of greenhouse gases production. To solve the problem of climate change, we have to first begin by identifying mitigation strategies to address the sources of greenhouse gases. In this paper, I will give brief background information of Queensland and the climate change impacts then assess the primary sources of greenhouse gases and identify four mitigation options to address these sources of greenhouse gases.
Background information of Queensland
Queensland is Australia’s second-largest state located at the northeastern part of the country. This state covers a total area of 715, 309 square miles with a population of about 4,921,259. Queensland has a prosperous economy, which is the third-largest in the country, making up 19.5% of the total national GDP (Queensland Government Statistician’s Office, n.d.). The most significant and important economic activities here are mining, agricultural, manufacturing, financial services as well as tourism. It is now exporting goods worth over $49.4 billion. These export goods include; fertilizers, copper ores, beef, aluminum, animal feeds, coal, copper concentrates, and copper. The state has a lot of industries, and the retail sector makes up 11.7% of the workforce in the entire state whereas construction makes up 11% of the workforce (Queensland Government Statistician’s Office, n.d.). Queensland is a beautiful state famous for its pristine beaches as well as the tropical islands. It has more than 200 parks covering the over 6.5 hectares of land. It also has lush mountainous rainforests, creeks, bushlands, and even flat tablelands which are suitable for farming. It has various agricultural products and several mining exports.
In Queensland, climate change has posed a threat to the quality of water sources, food production, and security. This climate change has significantly impacted the human system resulting in health complications, starvation, and eventually leading to death due to diminished food security and water quality (Bajracharya et al., 2011). The coastal areas of Queensland have experienced rising sea levels caused by global warming triggering climate change resulting in increased average global temperature leading to the rise of sea levels. Climate change caused by urbanization has led to the destruction of natural habitats and increased health complication for the animals leading to their death (Keogh et al., 2011).
Major sources of greenhouse gas emissions
One of the primary causes of the greenhouse gasses emissions in Queensland emerges from human activities, which involves the burning of fossil fuels to generate heat, electricity, and as well for transportation. The transportation sector is found to be producing the most significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions because transport is enabled through burning fossil fuel to be used by vehicles. Three-quarters of the fuel utilized for transportation in Queensland is mainly petroleum-based, which are gasoline and diesel. Another source of greenhouse gas emissions is electricity production, which generates the second most significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions (Herrero et al., 2016). About 60% of Queensland electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels, mainly natural gas and coal.
Additionally, most households and industries are found to have back-up generators which use petroleum-based fuel to generate electricity. Queensland is rich in industries, which is another source of greenhouse gasses emission (Bajracharya et al., 2011). Necessarily, greenhouse gases emissions arising from industries mainly emerges from burning fossil fuels to generate power and energy for running machines. Moreover, greenhouse gas emissions emerge from some chemical reactions in the process of producing raw materials in industries. Queensland community practices livestock keeping whereby ruminant animals’ dung, which produces methane is one of the significant sources of greenhouse gas emission. Livestock methane contributes to substantial greenhouse gases emission contributing to 9.6% of Queensland overall greenhouse gas emissions and is found to be the most significant aspect of agricultural emissions (Bajracharya et al., 2011).
To effectively address the issue of greenhouse gasses emissions arising from industries in Queensland, the burning of fossil fuels in the industries for generation of energy can be replaced with the use of renewable energy. Renewable energy such as wind and solar energy are ecofriendly since they do offer a better greenhouse gas emissions balance as compared to fossil-based technologies. This is to mean that greenhouse gasses sources mitigation is by replacing coal-fired power plants with wind, natural gas, and solar energy (Heidari & Pearce, 2016). To achieve a clean environment, industries can use solar panels to trap solar energy from the sun and also install wind turbines to tap wind energy. The government can enhance a clean environment by investing more on renewable energies enough to supply industries to run their processes. Generally, industries in this area should upgrade to more efficient industrial technologies. They need to identify ways manufacturers can utilize less energy and renewable energy in lighting and heating industries and as also to run their machines.
The burning of fossil fuel to be used in transportation is a significant source of greenhouse gasses emission. This can be mitigated through the electrification of transportation. This can be accomplished by adopting the use of electric vehicles and imposing a ban on vehicles that use fossil fuel for transport. Currently, all means of transport including; trains, cars, ships, and airplanes depend on burning fossil fuel such as petroleum-based fuel for transport. This produces a lot of greenhouse gasses (Heidari & Pearce, 2016). Therefore, to minimize the rate of greenhouse gasses emission, the dependency of burning fossil fuel for transport should be eradicated and instead replace it with the use of electrical energy for transportation. This is attainable by encouraging the use of electric vehicles and as well as banning the use of petroleum-based vehicles as a means of transport.
Reduction of the number of livestock would be an appealing, practical mitigation option, but it would cause a significant impact on the production of food as well as employment. However, when it comes to livestock methane, the best mitigation strategy is to minimize methane emissions per animal. This is achievable through a variety of approaches designated to a particular industry sector constraints. This is anticipated to mitigate per animal emissions by 10 to 20 percent in a single decade and probably up to 40 percent after a long time. This approach is based on dietary manipulation since it has a fast impact (Heidari & Pearce, 2016). Generally, options which increase the growth of animals, as well as reproductive performance, has the capacity of reducing greenhouse gases emissions per emission intensity. This also provides the benefit of restoring the condition of the land through shifting livestock from marginal locations. Additionally, the greenhouse gases produced by manure from cattle can be managed by capturing methane in the manure and use it to replace fossil fuel use. In reality, 25% of this emission can be decreased using appropriate incentives, with an additional reduction from the avoided fossil fuel utilized in energy production (Nalau et al., 2015).
Mitigation of greenhouse gasses emissions from electricity production is by increasing the efficacy of the fossil fuel-fired power plant that exists through the use of innovative technologies. This can be achieved by substituting the fossil fuel-fired power plants with less carbon-intensive fuels. Such substitution will result in a shift in the generation process of electricity from emitting a high amount of greenhouses gasses to lower amounts (Nalau et al., 2015). Examples of practical mitigations include; converting coal-fired boiler to use natural gas. Another one is the conversion of a single-cycle gas turbine to a joint-cycle turbine and as well moving the dispatch of electric generators to low-emitting units.
To sum up, most of the main sources of greenhouse gases emission are caused by anthropogenic factors. Queensland main sources of greenhouse gases emission are similar to sources of the global context. Queensland is therefore vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to the global temperature considerably increasing at a rate between 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius. Being a global issue, Queensland will not escape this. Electricity production, transportation, livestock methane, and industry among others are the primary sources of greenhouse gases which are available locally at Queensland and also globally. It has caused environmental problems that significantly impact human systems and biophysical system. As a result, climate change has caused the community to be vulnerable to food security issues. Global temperatures have increased significantly, causing drought, therefore minimizing the rate of food production. Greenhouse gases produced have also triggered climate change which have increased the vulnerability of affecting quality of water. The water quality is affected through natural calamities such as floods in the flat tablelands and also cyclones along the coastal regions. These natural calamities interrupt water and sewerage treatment causing water pollution. Greenhouse gases produced in this area also triggers global warming leading to desertification which leads to biodiversity loss. Along the coastal region of this community, the sea levels has risen significantly covering some portion of the coastal land and is likely to cause over congestion due to reduced area for occupancy. In my perspective, I think that the Queensland community has tried to respond to climate change to a satisfactory level, but a lot still needs to be done. For instance, immediate replacement of petroleum-based vehicles with electric cars is necessary.
Essentially, there are some synergies achieved through the adaptation and mitigation options of the Queensland community. The adaptation to the loss of biodiversity by increasing the level of adoption of sustainable practices synergies with the mitigation of avoiding burning of fossil fuel for transport and replacing petroleum-based vehicles with electric vehicles. The two are focused on reducing greenhouse gasses emissions to protect and improve the health of biodiversity. Another tradeoff is available between the adaptations of climate change by safeguarding food security through planting drought-tolerant seeds, the introduction of irrigation systems as well as ensuring and improving access to seasonal weather forecasts alongside with the mitigation to minimize greenhouse gasses emission produced by livestock methane. This mitigation also acknowledges and prioritize food security by taking into consideration the impact that the reduction of the number of livestock will cause reduced food production, which might result in food security. All in all, addressing greenhouse gasses emission first is the best strategy to tackle climate change. Queensland should implement specific mitigations options to address the issue of greenhouse gas emissions fully and as well reduce the impacts of climate change on food security, water quality, rising sea levels and the loss of human lives and biodiversity.