The Causes, Effects and Possible Solutions to Global Warming
Global warming is a problem that threatens the whole world. Though it has had little noticeable impact on the world so far, its potential impact could be disastrous which is why global warming has become an issue ever present in the media and for governments. Global warming is not a new phenomenon. The sun warms the Earth's surface and to stop it over-heating the heat energy is radiated back through the atmosphere and into space. Gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, CFC's and nitrogen oxides trap some of this heat thereby warming the lower atmosphere, which in turn warms the Earth's surface. This is the 'greenhouse effect' and is
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The increasing concentration of greenhouse gases is mainly a result of human activity. The burning of fossil fuels has added large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, some of which is absorbed by vegetation and ocean water. However, the large-scale removal of vegetation increases the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere and new plants may not be able to exchange or store as much carbon as the old ones. Methane is added to the atmosphere by deforestation, decomposition of waste and also rice and cattle production. CFC's, though small in number have a warming effect per molecule 10 000 times greater than carbon dioxide and stays in the atmosphere for up to 1000 years, compared with just 12 years for carbon dioxide. This greater concentration is attributed to humans and significantly contributes to global warming. The responsibility for these emissions lies mainly with the industrialised world, as since 1800 they have been responsible for more than 80% of carbon dioxide emissions. However, a country such as the USA contains only 4% of the world population and emits just under 25% of all greenhouse gases. This is equal to the total emissions from all LEDC's which contain 80% of the world population.
The impact of global warming will be widespread and not just affect those countries that contribute to it greatest. Already the impact can be seen in Britain where the winters