Global warming is caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. For more information, see our post ‘Who Discovered the Greenhouse Effect‘. Therefore, anything that emits greenhouse gases into the air (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are the main problems) contribute to global warming. Here are the main sources of those gases.
Causes of Global Warming
- Landfills (where we dump our rubbish) emit methane as rubbish breaks down.
- Burning of fossil fuels and coal releases carbon dioxide. Fossil fuels and coal are burnt to produce electricity in power plants. Cars and airplanes also burn fossil fuels to make them run.
- Agriculture (the production of food) causes methane and nitrous oxide to be released into the air. The farming of cattle is one of the major contributors, as cows fart a lot and methane is released when they fart. Growing rice also contributes to the emission of methane. The fertilizers that are used also cause more nitrous oxide to be emitted into the atmosphere.
- Deforestation (the cutting down of trees in forests) also contributes to global warming as their are fewer numbers of trees to absorb the carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.
- A bigger population. More people means more carbon dioxide is released during respiration (breathing). It also means more food must be produced, which means more methane and nitrous oxide will be released into the atmosphere. It also means more people have cars and more trees have to be cut down to make room for homes.
- Methane, that is naturally stored underground, is released when we mine coal and oil.
- Nitrous oxide is produced when nitric acid is made.
- The production of products (such as cell phones and iPods) requires electricity, and the electricity is usually produced by the burning of fossil fuels and coal.
Other Environmental Topics