One significant environmental issue that the world is facing today is global warming, and this problem has many people striving to find the best possible solution. Although some skeptics may say that the issue is not caused by human activity or is not in critical need of attention, there is evidence that shows otherwise. There are many contributors to global warming as well as many things affected by this problem. Ways to reduce the contributors to global warming have been researched and implemented by many different countries, states, and cities. However, if it is repairable it will take the cooperation of the world to solve it.
Global warming occurs naturally within the earth’s atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and other gases such as methane, and nitrous oxide create a greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation which keeps the earth’s surface warm enough to live on. The issue arises from the extra output of these gases and other man made gases due to human activity. In fact, large quantities of these gases have been released into the atmosphere for many years by human activity (Miller, 2008).
This data shows that since the preindustrial revolution to present there has been approximately a 100 parts per million increase of carbon dioxide, a 1,117 parts per billion increase of methane, and a 48 parts per billion increase of nitrous oxide. Because some of these gases such as carbon dioxide stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, the gases have and will continue to create additional warming on the earth and ocean surfaces (Axia College Week Five, 2007).
According to Axia College Week Five reading (2007), “In 2001 the IPCC projected a 1.4º to 5.8ºC (2.5º to 10.4ºF) increase in global temperature by the year 2100” (p.216 ¶4). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has also researched the change in global temperatures since 1850. The research shows that out of the 12 hottest years 11 were between 1995 and 2006 (Miller, 2008). These findings show that there has definitely been a change to our climate. To determine the cause of global warming we must look closer at what contributes to this issue.
Many different gases contribute to global warming including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and tropospheric ozone. However, the increased amount of these gases due to human activities, are created by many different sources (Axia College Week Five Reading, 2007). According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2008), the primary greenhouse gas that is emitted as a result of human activity is carbon dioxide. Most of the carbon dioxide created by humans is due to the burning of fossil fuels that contain carbon such as oil and coal. Another activity which contributes to the carbon dioxide output is the destruction of tropical rain forests. When the trees are burned they release all the carbon dioxide which they once stored (Axia College Week Five Reading, 2007). Since trees are responsible for absorbing a large amount of the carbon dioxide in the air, we basically double our emission through deforestation.