Our Influence on Global Climates

The world’s scientific experts agree that industrial and land use activities are having an adverse impact on our climate. Burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gasoline creates global warming pollution that acts as the glass in a greenhouse, reflecting heat back toward the Earth and warming our climate. If we do not take steps now to reduce our emissions of global warming pollution, we will suffer serious environmental, public health, and economic repercussions. We owe it to our next generations to leave them a healthy environment and economy. Industries must start reducing their emissions of global warming pollution before we seal the fate of future generations.
The earth’s climate is predicted to change because human activities are altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere through the buildup of greenhouse gases (primarily carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide). Its functions are similarly to the walls and roof of a greenhouse, allowing sunlight to enter, but preventing heat from escaping. Sunlight passes through the atmosphere and heats the earth's surface. The earth gives off heat energy, in the form of infrared radiation, which travels back toward the atmosphere. Instead of going into space, some of the infrared radiation is trapped by greenhouse gases (Schneider, 1989). The main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and ozone. The gases send infrared radiation back to the earth’s surface.
Some greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere, while others result from human activities. Naturally occurring greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Certain human activities, however, add to the levels of most of these naturally occurring gases: 1) Carbon dioxide is released to the atmosphere when solid waste, fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal), and wood and wood products are burned. 2) Methane is emitted during the producti…

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