I remember it wasn’t very long ago that many people
didn’t think global warming existed. Even though scientist were telling
us about it, the average person on the street didn’t think it was a
That has changed in recent years and global warming and climate change
has become on the most important challenges we face today. But what
Global warming is the increase of Earth's average surface temperature
due to greenhouse gases that collect in the atmosphere like a thickening
blanket. These gases trap the sun's heat so that it can’t escape and
this causes our planet to warm up.
All of this began back in the 1700's when some countries started to
develop heavy industry and use more fossil fuels from coal, oil, and
gas. Every time we fly in a plane or drive our cars and lorries, we add
to this effect by putting more carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere. In
fact, there’s more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today than at any
point in the last 800,000 years.
North Americans make up just 4% of the world's population. However, they
produce 25% of the carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels.
One consequence of global warming is rising sea levels. Since 1870, sea
levels have risen by over 20 centimetres around the world and as a
result, low-lying areas are particularly vulnerable to flooding.
Glaciers have shrunk and are receding, ice on rivers and lakes is
breaking up earlier, especially at the poles. Plant and animal ranges
have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. The entire world eco system
Heat waves caused by global warming present greater risk of heat-related
illness and death. According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program,
the temperature in the U.S. has increased by 2 degrees Celsius in the
last 50 years and precipitation has increased by 5%.
Our coral reefs are also in danger from global warming. The oceans are
warming up and scientists fear that coral reefs will not be able to
adapt quickly enough to the resulting changing conditions, and bleaching
incidents and diseases will increase and endanger marine life.
All of the above paints a very bleak picture and if we don’t act soon,
global warming will have a severe affect on us, on our children and on
the future of the human race.
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