Global warming is the warming near the earth’s surface that results when the earth’s atmosphere traps the sun’s heat. The earth is getting warmer. Within the next fifty to one hundred years, the earth may be hotter than it has been in the past million years. As oceans warm and glaciers melt, land and cities along coasts may be flooded. Heat and drought may cause forests to die and food crops to fail. Global warming will affect weather, plants, animals and people throughout the world — in short it will have a devastating effect on everything everywhere. Humans are warming the earth’s atmosphere by burning fuels, cutting down forests, and by activities that release heat trapping gases into the air.
One major cause of global warming is the use of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas were formed from the remains of plant and animal material deposited during the earth’s carboniferous period. The worldwide consumption of fossil fuel has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, burning fossil fuels is not the only thing that we humans are doing to increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In many parts of the world today, forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Enormous numbers of trees are being cut down, both to provide timber and to clear the land for agriculture and ranching.
There are ways that every individual can help in reducing the global warming effect. Carpooling, auditing the energy in your home, buying fuel-efficient cars, and reducing the electricity in your home are ways to help prevent global warming. The future of the planet looks bleak. Without the help of emissions control policies, CO2 levels are projected to be 30-150% higher in 2100 compared to now. Only with cooperation from every individual and all governments of the world, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow down the rate of global warming.