Human Contributions to Global Warming

Posted on diciembre 11th, 2011 in Second Paper by andogo

The major cause of global warming is the emission of green house gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide etc into the atmosphere. The major source of carbon dioxide is the power plants. These power plants emit large amounts of carbon dioxide produced from burning of fossil fuels for the purpose of electricity generation. About twenty percent of carbon dioxide emitted in the atmosphere comes from burning of gasoline in the engines of the vehicles. This is true for most of the developed countries. Buildings, both commercial and residential represent a larger source of global warming pollution than cars and trucks.

Building of these structures require a lot of fuel to be burnt which emits a large amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Methane is more than 20 times as effectual as CO2 at entrapping heat in the atmosphere. Methane is obtained from resources such as rice paddies, bovine flatulence, bacteria in bogs and fossil fuel manufacture. When fields are flooded, anaerobic situation build up and the organic matter in the soil decays, releasing methane to the atmosphere. The main sources of nitrous oxide include nylon and nitric acid production, cars with catalytic converters, the use of fertilizers in agriculture and the burning of organic matter. Another cause of global warming is deforestation that is caused by cutting and burning of forests for the purpose of residence and industrialization. (5)

The greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming are produced through the burning of fossil fuels, like coal and oil, which are significant sources of the energy we use in everyday activities. The burning of fossil fuels, for example, helps produce the electricity needed for our homes to function. Unfortunately, the power plants that burn fossil fuels provide such a tremendous source of energy that they are also the largest source of greenhouse gases. In the U.S., the second largest source of greenhouse gases is automobiles.

Greenhouse gases are harmful to our environment not only because they increase the temperature of our planet, but because they are also a major source of air pollution. The burning of fossil fuels produces Carbon Dioxide, the major greenhouse gas, as well as other highly toxic pollutants such as Sulfur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, and particulate matter. These gases cause very serious health hazards such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, heart diseases, among others. (6)

Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have been using fossil fuels to power machines. Now, nearly everything you consume, nearly every product you buy, and many of your daily activities, involve the use of fossil fuels. You contribute to global warming:

When You Drive or Fly

Every time you drive a car, carbon-rich auto exhaust enters the atmosphere. The use of jet fuel in plane travel also adds a great deal to your carbon footprint. (Though, cars contribute more per passenger mile in the long run). The transportation option that uses the least energy per passenger mile is clearly the bicycle. Automobiles (especially SUVs, light trucks, and minivans) use the most, followed by planes. Passenger trains, electric vehicles, and ships sit somewhere in the middle. Of course, the more energy used, the more greenhouse gases are emitted, the more humans cause global warming.

When You Eat Meat and Exotic Foods

The food industry, especially the meat industry, is one of the primary sources of greenhouse gases, according to some recent studies.

Eating food that is shipped long distances adds to greenhouse gas emissions. Consider the fact that the average food item you eat travels over 1000 miles from farm to fork. In addition, conventional agriculture uses massive amounts of petroleum-based fertilizers.

Eating beef and drinking milk also adds to greenhouse gases, since cows emit significant amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon. One of the best ways to cut your greenhouse gas emissions is by going vegetarian.

When You Use Electricity

Although some power generation is now being done with solar and wind energy, the chances are high that the electricity you use is generated from coal-burning power plants.

When You Move Into A New Development

If you decide to move into a new suburban development near the edge of town, you’re increasing the profits developers get from cutting down trees and paving over farm land. When farms and forests disappear, the land loses the ability to absorb carbon, and emissions from other activities have an even greater effect. (7)

Source: ONLINE©2011 by Planetsave. [visited 26 Nov. 2011]

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