It’s a scientifically proven “Fact,” that over the past century, our planet has slowly been warming up. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the average temperature around the world has gradually risen by one degree fharenheit.
While this minimal warming might not seem all that significant, the truth is, according to Climatic Specialists all around the globe, the over-all impact will most certainly prove to be devastating if this continual warming process is not somehow ebated.
Scientists have been busily searching and studying in order to determine precisely what the primary, “key factors” are behind this progressive “heating up” process. Here’s what they have come up with thus far:
The Main Causes of Global Warming (Manmade & Nature)
To the surprise of many out-spoken environmentalists, it, in fact, turns out mankind and technology actually aren’t the only significant causes of global warming. There actually are a wide variety of 100%, ‘all natural” causes, ranging from volcanic eruptions, solar radiation and natural thawing of the Earths “permafrost” and glaciers.
In other words, the planet’s temperature, just like most other things in life and natural science, simply tends to fluctuate through natural, rhythmic, “ebbs and flows” and highs and lows that are caused and by sources within the planet itself, as well as the vacillating environment of the solar system and universe that we are passively passing through.
However, before we start to get too comfortable and confidently assume that we as human beings are officially “off the hook,” the fact remains that several “man made” causes play a significant role in our current, global warming trend.
Welcome to the Greenhouse. Yes, the “Greenhouse” effect may very well be the most popular new term utilized in environmental circles and it’s time people really begin to understand exactly what it is, what it does and what we can do about it.
What Are Greenhouse Gases
Greenhouse gases, being lighter than air, naturally rise up the outer limits of the earth’s atmosphere and then settle there, creating an impenetrable barrier that traps heat from being able to escape into space, holding it hostage within our environment and warming the temperature in the process.
It is feared that unless we change our ways, getting smarter about our greenhouse gas emissions, they could increase an addition 5 to 9% over the next hundred years and lead to some very serious problems maintaining a comfortable and healthy life on Earth.
So where does this greenhouse gas come from and what other culprits are responsible for our “global warming” problems?
Carbon Dioxide from Power Plants: Nearly 40% of our carbon dioxide emissions come directly from the process of burning ‘fossil fuels” in order to generate electricity. Of that almost 40% of our CO2 emissions directly attributed to generating power, over 90% of it comes from the burning of coal. Coal emits 25% more carbon per “unit of energy” than oil and 70% more carbon than natural gas.
Carbon Dioxide from Automobiles: Approximately 1/3 of the carbon dioxide emissions released into our environment comes from the burning of gasoline in internal-combustion engines of automobiles, buses, motorcycles, “SUVs,” recreational vehicles, trucks and of course, motor sports.
As motor sports (racing) continue to grow in popularity, the huge amount of fuel being used continues to grow annually. Just NASCAR alone, which is only one of numerous racing associations, admits that it burns over 1 million gallons of gas per year when you combine the gasoline used for the racing, trials, practice runs, etc. That doesn’t even take into account the gas spent traveling, hauling the cars, equipment, team and tools for each car back and forth to the track
Carbon Dioxide from Airplanes: The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that aviation currently is responsible for just under 5% of global warming and that the figure could very well rise to approximate 15% by the year 2050.
Carbon Dioxide from Buildings: Scientists claim that something so very mundane as the regular maintenance, temperature control and cleaning of buildings structure actually account for nearly 12% of carbon dioxide emissions.
Methane: CO2 is not the only “Greenhouse Gas” that the planet is contending with these days. While carbon dioxide may be primary greenhouse gas, methane actually is 20 times more effective as CO2 at trapping heat in the Earths atmosphere. Emissions of methane released into our atmosphere have risen 145% in the last 100 years.
Methane naturally occurs as part of the biological processes behind everything from bovine flatulence to the organic bacteria and sulfur’s commonly found in bogs, springs, and wells. Methane is a natural form of gas that is released in rice paddies as well as the composting and decomposition of organic matter. However, methane gas is also released during the processing and preparation of fossil fuels.
Water Vapor: Believe it or not, something as natural and simple as “water vapor,” is the most prevalent and effective greenhouse gas on the planet. But, much of the cause behind its increasing levels entering the atmosphere is due to already increased global warming that has taken place, due to increased levels of CO2, methane as well as other greenhouse gases.
Water vapor is responsible for 2/3 of the heat currently trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere by all greenhouse gases. The hotter the atmosphere gets, the higher the level of “relative humidity” which holds the heat in even better.
Nitrous Oxide: Yet another of the infamous “Greenhouse Gasses, Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a colorless, non-flammable gas with a slightly sweet odor. Most commonly known as “laughing gas” and used as a medical anesthetic, nitrous oxide is naturally produced by oceans and rainforests.
Nitrous oxide is naturally broken down in the atmosphere through chemical reactions that occur with sunlight. Some of the most prevalent “man-made” sources of nitrous oxide are agricultural fertilizers, nylon, catalytic converters and nitric acid, along with the burning of organic matter.
Deforestation: According to NASA, besides, human caused carbon dioxide emissions released into the environment, deforestation actually now is the 2nd most prolific cause of atmospheric CO2 influx. Deforestation is responsible for nearly ¼ of all carbon emissions entering the atmosphere. The planet cuts and burns nearly 34 million acres of trees each year, including millions of acres of “rainforest,” equal to the size of the entire country of Italy.
The process of deforestation is “doubly” dangerous for the planet, because not only are we adding millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, but we are also wiping out the most effective cleansers of that deadly CO2 gas, the trees and plants that naturally “thrive” by consuming the carbon dioxide and offering up pure, clean, breathable oxygen as a free byproduct of the plant life cycle.
Melting Permafrost: Permafrost is the frozen soil throughout the arctic and sub-arctic regions, that contain all kinds of organic matter such as all kinds of frozen plants and animals that have been frozen solid and held inert for 30,000 years. Approximately 25% of the land mass of the Northern Hemisphere is “permafrost,’ or soil with a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) or less.
Permafrost has acted like a jail cell for carbon, methane and other greenhouse gases for several thousand years, perhaps dating back to the last “Ice Age.” As glacial regions and permafrost begin to melt, the 50 billion tons of carbon that scientists estimate is held in a state on inactive, suspended animation under the frozen surface of the tundra will begin and continue to be released into our atmosphere, creating a greenhouse effect that would make the residents of the hottest and most humid tropical islands faint in mere minute.
OK … so now we know the causes of Global Warming. It’s not ALL our fault, but we certainly have played a significant role in the decline of our environmental integrity. However, when you stop to think about it, that’s actually good news! You see, if we played a major role in creating, the problem, that logically means that we can also play a major role in SOLVING the problem! So just like in a good game of chess … it’s your move!
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