Climate Change

The Earth is warming, and warming at a rate nearly 70 times faster than it did during natural warming periods of the past; this is a serious problem. More serious than the warming is that most Americans are unaware or misinformed about climate change; less than half of Americans see global warming as a threat to them.

When a planet or a satellite (such as our Moon) does not have an atmosphere, the heat energy it receives from the Sun is lost almost immediately. Our atmosphere on the other hand absorbs and holds heat near the Earth’s surface; the Earth is therefore a warm and hospitable place where life can exist. The gases in the atmosphere that absorb and hold heat are large gas molecules known as greenhouse gases, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane. The warming that is occurring is caused by an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide.

When fossil fuels are burned, the carbon that is released as carbon dioxide has been underground in oil or coal for millions of years. Now it is entering the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas that absorbs heat and warms the Earth. In the year 1790, when the use of fossil fuels expanded with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 ppm; in May of 2015 it was 404 ppm.

If all citizens do not make the issue of climate change a priority, and soon, future generations of humans will face problems that are inconceivable in seriousness.

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