The Problem of Global Warming

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The Problem of Global Warming

"The climate of the Earth is changing" (Melillo 1999:183). These

words sum up exactly what is happening to the environment today; it is

changing. Yet, what has brought on this change? There are many factors

that contribute to climate change, however, the most important one that

has become a very relevant issue to humans today is global warming.

Global warming is the increase in the Earth's average surface temperature

from an increase of greenhouse gases (primarily Carbon Dioxide) in the

atmosphere. These extra gases act as a blanket, trapping in radiation

received from the sun and warming the Earth's surface. This effect can be

brought on from a number of different sources. The burning of fossil

fuels, deforestation, volcanic eruptions, and the decomposition of organic

materials are only a few of the ways that extra greenhouse gases are

released into the atmosphere causing what is known to the general public

as the "Greenhouse Effect".

One may ask how the Greenhouse Effect is so detrimental to the

environment. The burning of fossil fuels expels extra greenhouse gases

into the atmosphere. The most abundant gas released from this process is

Carbon Dioxide. When Carbon Dioxide levels are high, this in turn causes

the temperature to rise causing many different things to happen, such as

the melting of the polar ice caps. Should the polar ice caps melt, this

would not only wash out many different ecosystems from the excess water on

land, but it would also release a great deal of Carbon Dioxide into the

atmosphere that had been trapped in the ice caps. This would again raise

Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere and cause the temperature to rise,

displaying a positive feedba...

... middle of paper ...

... from the process of separating the plastic from the plant,

researchers realized that this process may not be the answer to end global


There is no simple way to stop the problem of global warming.

There are preventative measures that society can take against more global

warming, such as carpooling, not cutting down the tropical rain forests,

not using aerosol can products,etc. However, the population of today must

and has begun to take special consideration for this problem in order to

sustain the Earth's environment for generations to come.


Epstein, Paul R. "Is Global Warming Harmful to Health?" Scientific American. August 2000:1-8.

Gerngross, Tillman U. and Steven C. Slater. "How Green are Green Plastics?" Scientific American. August 2000:1-7.

Melillo, Jerry M. "Warm, Warm on the Range." Science. 8 Jan 1999:183-184.
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