What Are the Causes of Global Warming?
What is global warming? According to NASA Earth Observatory, global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels. 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. The changes are small, so far, but they are expected to grow and speed up. 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 everywhere, plants and animals everywhere, people everywhere; humans are warming the earth's atmosphere by burning fuels, cutting down forest, and by taking part in other activities that release certain heat trapping gases into the air. For this exploratory essay, I want to look more deeply and figure out some significant causes of this worldwide issue, global warming. I set for myself this question: What are the main causes of global warming created by human beings?
My exploratory began with an article: “Pollution in Overdrive” from The Washington Post by Sholnn Freeman, a Washington post staff writer. In this article, the author uses a report from the nonprofit group Environment Defense to say that the United States of America is the main pollutant that causes global warming. Even though Americas only represent 5 percent of the world’s population, it contributes 45 percent of the world’s emission of carbon dioxide. In addition, Americas own approximately 30 percent of the world’s vehicles, drive farther each year than the international average and burn more fuel per mile. Freeman also states that according to the report, GM, the number one U.S. automaker, produced as much carbon dioxide in 2004 as American Electric Power Co., the nation’s largest operator of coal-fired power plants, and all the automakers resisted government restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions because it would force extensive design changes and drive up prices for consumer. In fact, consumer choices also play an important role on the global warming issue. They could either buy gas-electric hybrids or cars with smaller engines that burn less fuel and they could be more aware of how much they are driving, no matter the gas mileage of their cars.
The author suggest that communities should reconsider land use policies because Americans are taking more and longer trips, often to shop. Also, with the report, the nonprofit group Environment Defense tries to build support for government policies aiming at curbing greenhouse gases, including a system that would cap carbon dioxide emissions but allow companies and utilities to trade credits, mirroring Clean Air Act rules that govern sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain. The author mentions that carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles are disproportionately high in the United States for two primary reasons. The first is U.S. drivers average 11,000 miles per year, 29 percent above the global average, and second is U.S. autos consume more fuel, emitting 15 percent more carbon dioxide per mile than the average vehicle in the rest of the world.
As far as I can see, cars are one of the biggest creators of carbon dioxide gas in the air. The burning of fuel in cars and trucks and the emissions created as a result of this burning is causing global warming to increase on a daily basis. However, I highly recommend people should try carpooling with friends or co-workers because by choosing to commute in larger groups with other individuals via a carpool, a person can dramatically reduce their carbon footprint on a daily basis. Fewer cars on the highway equal less emissions released into the atmosphere. Thus, carpooling is an earth