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Humans Are Causing Global Warming Essay

2047 words - 8 pages

In recent years, the controversial subject of global warming has been more predominantly brought to our attention. Is the threat of global warming real? Is it man-made or is this just a natural cycle of earth? Does it really affect earth’s inhabitants? Should action be taken against it? If so, what kind and to what extent? It cannot be only a coincidence that the alarmingly rapid climate change coincides perfectly with the increased amount of pollutants that humans release into the environment. The once stable climate has in recent years begun to skyrocket, thus altering the delicate structure of earthly life. This proves to be hazardous to the future of the planet; some people worry that many of the resources the environment provides that are taken for granted will not be available for future generations to utilize or protect. Many scientists now agree that humans largely influence the progression of global warming which in turn affects greenhouse gas levels, glaciers, storms, and the sea.
Firstly, the term global warming refers to the event in which the surface temperature of earth increases because of solar radiation trapped in the atmosphere. The sun’s radiation comes in the form of light waves which pass through the atmosphere and absorb into the earth and warm it, with the exception of a few waves bouncing off and reflecting back into space in the form of infrared radiation. Some of those infrared rays do not make it back to outer space because they get blocked by the atmosphere and descend back to earth’s surface. This is not necessarily a bad thing because it provides a comfortably warm and consistent climate; without these rays the planet would be freezing. The issue begins when an excess of greenhouse gasses from pollution thicken the layer of atmosphere and trap more and more of these rays which build up and overheat the earth (Guggenheim).
Consequently, the greenhouse gasses that most affect the atmosphere include: carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, tropospheric ozone, and nitrous oxide (“Greenhouse Gases: Introduction”). The overall effect of the presence of certain gases depends on its abundance, concentration and the amount of time spent in the atmosphere. Water vapor is the most predominant gas in the atmosphere but it spends only about nine days there whereas carbon ioxide, another powerful gas, spends about five years (Schlesinger). The United States Environmental Protection Agency found that “In 2011, CO2 accounted for about 84% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities” (“Carbon Dioxide Emissions”). Carbon dioxide is an organic gas which is naturally found in the earth’s Atmosphere but the level has drastically increased since the start of the industrial revolution. This is because carbon dioxide is released during the combustion fossil fuels (ie. oil, natural gas, and coal) which occurs when generating electricity, transporting people and goods, and producing products. Electricity accounts for thirty...

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