Cars and bikes are two of the most useful inventions in history and make opportunities in life, from seeing friends in different towns to getting to work in the morning, easier to do as you can just turn them on and go anywhere you want whenever you want. The motorsport industry as a whole is worth billions with Formula 1, Nascar and MotoGP being watched by millions across the world for the action-packed thrills that come with racing on the edge. Cars and bikes are loved by people all over the world but they need to be run on some fuel and that’s the big side effect of them; every time there is a race, or you drive to work, you are doing your part in destroying the world we live on.
The science behind it
Global warming is caused by excessive greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour which work to keep the earth warm by trapping in long wave radiation which was re-radiated from incoming short wave radiation from the sun. These greenhouse gases are the only thing keeping the world from freezing if we didn’t have them in the atmosphere, we would lose all heat and life would not be sustainable. The more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere, the more long-wave radiation will stay in the Earth’s atmosphere which will cause the atmosphere to heat up. As the world heats up, life becomes more difficult to sustain as there is going to be more energy in the atmosphere, causing more extreme weather conditions. These weather conditions will include more frequent and severe hurricanes, heavier storms, more droughts and so on causing plants to die, soil to dry out and damage to man-made structures. It will reach a point where the atmosphere has so much stored energy that plants and other carbon dioxide absorbing methods will not be able to take it in fast enough to stop the atmosphere from heating up and the world will become inhabitable.
Most of the cars and bikes in the world are powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE) which combines an air intake and burning fossil fuels to create the power to make an engine run. The development of the engine has seen radical innovation over the years from steam and petrol engines to modern hybrid, hydrogen and electric cars but the majority of cars and bikes still run on petrol or diesel because of their accessibility of them as fuel sources and is an efficient method of travelling quickly and conveniently. When fossil fuels are burned to generate power, the oxygen from the air and carbon from the fuel react with one another and result in carbon dioxide being emitted from the exhaust which rises into the atmosphere and contributes to the greenhouse effect. With the large population growing ever larger, there are more cars on the roads which causes the emissions of greenhouse gases to increase at an even faster rate. As a result of this, using these ICE cars is going to directly contribute to the end of the world as we know it.
Efforts to tackle the issue
Tesla is one of the world’s most innovative companies when it comes to revolutionising the automotive industry and changing how we power our daily lives with its clean power storage. The innovation that Tesla is carrying out is directly combatting the fossil fuel combustion cars by providing a more energy-efficient operating system which provides more power with less energy being used when compared to a car with an ICE. As batteries are being improved constantly through research and development, it will not be too long until the range of an electric car will surpasses numerous cars with an ICE and they will become obsolete. Formula 1 is a big polluter of greenhouse gases but is leading research into sustainable fuels with 2026 being the first year where the potentially twenty-two cars will all be using sustainable fuels with the new engine regulations. Being at the forefront of innovation helps to bring awareness of the climate issues that are at hand and show the necessity to make a change as soon as possible.
To conclude, cars with an ICE emit a lot of greenhouse gases but innovation into cleaner options, mainly electric cars at the moment, is making a considerable step in the right direction to battling climate change. The motorsport industry is also making leaps and bounds to battle the carbon-positive nature of its operations and is becoming carbon-neutral in the coming years. However, the automotive industry is not currently able to not be considered a problem when it comes to contributing to global warming, simply due to the number of cars that are still burning petrol and diesel. Research and development are getting closer to a world where all personal cars are powered cleanly through solar, wind and other sources of power but it may be too little too late when it is achieved.