Sunday, 5 September 2010
Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming
Should nations concern themselves with "global warming?" Are fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas contributing to a global climate change?
Burned Carbon dioxide is a major "greenhouse gas." Once it is released, it and other gases form a layer around the Earth that traps the sun's heat. (A similar effect occurs when sunlight comes through a greenhouse window and the glass pane then keeps the heat inside. Scientists call it the "greenhouse effect.") Other greenhouse gases are methane, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), nitrous oxide and water vapor.
Other human activities, such as clearing forests for timber or agricultural use, may also play a role. Large-scale deforestation may inhibit the Earth's ability to maintain its balance of atmospheric gases since forests absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide.
If greenhouse gases continue to increase, average temperatures may rise as much as 6° F over the next century, according to some scientists.
The greenhouse gas that concerns environmentalists most is carbon dioxide, which is primarily released when fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and natural gas, are burned.