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Every day, tons of carbon dioxide is poured into our atmosphere through exhaust pipes in cars. Unfortunately, carbon dioxide is a "greenhouse gas" which means it contributes to global warming. This process is known as the greenhouse effect. Heat becomes trapped near the surface, caused by gases like carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons (found in aerosols), methane, nitrous oxide and ozone. At the current rate, scientific experts agree that summer temperatures will increase by 9° Fahrenheit, by the summer of 2050! Consequently, polar ice caps will melt, raising the water level of our oceans, flooding coastal cities.
Carbon dioxide, which is emitted largely by burning of fossil fuels, is the most important man-made greenhouse gas. If carbon dioxide emissions were halted today, it would take more than a century for the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide to drop down to its pre-industrial level. Furthermore, about 15% of all carbon dioxide which has already been emitted would remain airborne for thousands of years, causing warming indefinitely.
Before human beings began to affect the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the natural emissions of carbon dioxide were nearly exactly balanced by natural process which remove carbon dioxide, such as photosynthesis. As a result, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has changed minutely for 10,000 years. The additional source of carbon dioxide from human activity from burning coal and oil for energy, has thrown the system out of balance. Although the oceans and forests absorb about half the carbon dioxide emitted by industry, the rest builds up in our atmosphere. As a result, carbon dioxide levels are now 30% above what they were in times before industry.
If we do not stop our endless emissions of the greenhouse gases, we all will pay the price.
Air Pollution & Smog
Car emissions also contribute to a large amount of air pollution. Carbon dioxide, a product from the combustion of gasoline, undergoes a series of reactions in the air producing deadly carbon monoxide gas. Unburned hydrocarbons, and nitrogen dioxide emissions also produce other highly toxic gases. If we do not stop these gas emissions, our air will no longer be safe to breathe.
Many factories release toxic sewage and hot water into streams, rivers, and lakes. Toxic sewage is not only deadly to the marine life, but also to any human that drinks the water. Hot water is also dangerous to water life. The heating of water causes dissolved oxygen gas in water to become more 'excited' and leave the water. This suffocates fish and other marine life. Another killer form of water pollution are the oil spills. Oil covers vast areas of waters, and coats animals in a sticky film, preventing them from doing vital processes, or causing them to freeze. Oil spills are especially disastrous because of the large regions that they pollute.
Did you know that enough tropical rainforests are destroyed every minute to fill fifty football fields? That's right! These countries with rainforests are demolishing our vital source of oxygen. After all, plants remove the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the air, and put fresh oxygen back into the air for us to breathe. What is worse is that the rainforests are being burned, putting even more carbon dioxide into the air, and whenever plants are burned, all of the carbon dioxide absorbed by them are re-released into the air! Thus, tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide is released into our atmosphere. We need to tell the countries burning these forests to stop squandering them for farmland. Besides, rainforest land has a very low mineral content, so more and more rainforest needs to be burned for the needs of farmers that have drawn all of the minerals out of their land. This useless waste definitely needs to stop.