Small steps you can take to limit your emissions, help limit global warming

Many places around the world are seeing high heat alerts.

"This is a direct consequence of our generation using coal and natural gas and driving all these cars using petroleum products," said Dr. Johnathan Overpeck, a climate scientist and the Dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. "This is clearly global warming."

Overpeck said there are ways to limit what is happening to the planet.

"We need to cut the emissions by no longer using fossil fuels," he said.

This can start at home.

"If your heating or air conditioner goes out in your house, you want to make sure you replace them with energy efficient appliances," Overpeck said.

Also, on these hot summer days, pay attention to how you are cooling your home.

"We can also turn your thermostat up a little if you can enjoy the slightly less cool air," he said.

Watching what foods you purchase could also make a difference, too.

"It requires a lot of fossil fuels to produce beef. Your cows are also burping methane, which is another potent greenhouse gas," Overpeck said.

Another key to protecting the environment, he says, includes voting for politicians who advocate a more rapid application of renewable energy, and staying away from the gas pump.

"There are hybrid vehicles or an electric vehicle -  these are things that will really make a huge difference," he said. "You can also look for ways to drive less and use less gas."

Research is underway at the University of Michigan to find solutions.

"We’re looking at ways to generate electricity with renewable sources, how to store electricity," Overpeck said. "The biggest and most important thing is that we solve this soon because the problem is getting worse faster than we anticipated."