Global Warming

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Global warming was started being considered as a threat which could cause many problems in the long-run like shortage of food and rise in the sea-level. Over the time, more negative effects like threats to the ecosystems and human health were identified. This paper discusses some of the most fundamental causes and effects of global warming. Key causes of global warming include human dependence on fossil fuels to meet the energy needs, growth of population, deforestation, natural processes generating methane in the atmosphere, and use of chemical fertilizers for agricultural purposes while the most significant effects of global warming include change of climate, rise in the sea-level, extinction of animal species as well as death of humans. Causes One of the most fundamental causes of global warming is increased dependence on power plants that burn coal to produce energy. Power plants generate a lot of carbon dioxide. According to EPA, electricity production in the US accounts for almost 40 per cent of the carbon dioxide, whereas 93 per cent of the carbon dioxide is released from the burning of coal in the electric utility industry. There is an ever-increasing availability of the electric gadgets in the market. Electricity for both personal and commercial use is largely produced from burning of coal in most of the countries around the world. The manufacture of globally sourced goods and car culture releases 33 per cent of the carbon dioxide in the US. Increase in the production of these goods can primarily be attributed to the growth of population. With the growth of population and the ever-increasing demand for consumer goods and vehicles, fossil fuels are being used in a greater amount for the manufacturing and transportation. Deforestation is a very important cause of global warming. In the photosynthesis process, plants consume carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and release oxygen which in effect is a two-way action directed at the decrease of global warming. Over the years, plants and trees have been cut in great numbers so as to make more land available for such reasons as construction and industrial development. One plant takes years to grow into a tree while it takes only few minutes to cut down the trees, which is why growing more plants is not a very effective measure to improve the environment. Second to carbon dioxide, methane is a potential contributor of global warming. Methane is produced as a result of decomposition of the organic matter by bacteria in anaerobic conditions which prevail in rice paddies. Methane is also produced in the anaerobic decomposition process that occurs in the intestines of animals that feed on grass and plants. In addition to that, increase in the production of concentrated livestock increases the amount of methane in the atmosphere. Escape of methane from the Arctic seabed also contributes to global warming. Use of chemical fertilizers to grow crops has increased rapidly since the second half of the 20th century. The high rate of application of nitrogen-rich fertilizers has effects on the heat storage of cropland (nitrogen oxides have 300 times more heat-trapping capacity per unit of volume than carbon dioxide) and the run-off of excess fertilizers creates ‘dead-zones’ in our oceans (Markham, 2009). Moreover, high content of nitrate in the groundwater caused by over-fertilization yields negative effects