Has anyone ever thought that the emission of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels could be one of the major causes of climate change/global warming? A few days ago I went to the NVCC Woodbridge campus and found highly interesting books and videos about global warming/climate change. Since I could not check out all of the books, I brought home a few, one of them being, “The Atlas of Climate Change.” The book had plenty of knowledgeable information, but only a few facts about fossil fuels. As the authors Dow and Downing said, “Nearly two-thirds of carbon dioxide emissions, along with a significant amount of nitrous oxide and methane, derive from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal" (Dow and Downing 43).
Along with the book, I also rented a video called, “Global Warming: What’s Up with the Weather?” This video really caught my eye because I got to know a lot more information than I thought I already knew. When talking about fossil fuels, the video started out showing Al Gore and his views on fossil fuels. He believes that somehow emissions from oil, natural gas, and coal should be greatly reduced since they play a major role in global warming. The reason he believes they should be reduced is because the burning of fossil fuels puts the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere which then trap heat and warm the globe. However, the problem was that others disagreed with Al Gore since fossil fuels account for 90 percent of the energy.
Well, halfway through the video, I found a lot more information on fossil fuels than I had expected. I was amazed when I came to know that fossil fuels have been used for more than 150 years, ever since the Industrial Revolution. Now, here is the scary part. In 1957, the earth had less Carbon Dioxide. But ever since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the rise of carbon dioxide appeared to be higher now than it was 450,000 years ago! Why? Well, fossil fuels are used everyday and everywhere in the world. Sadly, humans are the primary cause for the increase of carbon dioxide. For example, whenever a car is started, or whenever a light or lamp is turned on, carbon dioxide is being added to the air.
According to the greenhouse effect theory, adding more greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide to the atmosphere will cause the average global temperature to rise for as long as the burning of fossil fuels continues. When talking about fossil fuels, the video also talked about the planet Mars and Venus. According to the researchers in the video, the climate of Mars and Venus were also shaped by the greenhouse effect. Now, when looking at Venus, the planet has an extremely high concentration of carbon dioxide and it is boiling hot! On the other hand, Mars has an extremely thin and small amount of carbon dioxide and it is freezing cold! What better examples can I provide than these?
Not many people realize that many of the environmental problems (global warming) the world faces today result from the use of fossil fuels. Well, is there any way the use of fossil fuels could be reduced, if not stopped? According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, there are many ways to reduce global warming, such as reducing pollution from vehicles and power plants. Secondly, the use of fossil fuels could be highly reduced by building cleaner cars. Along with that, building hybrid gas-electric engines would probably cut global warming pollution by one-third or even more. Lastly, humans can help reduce global warming by manufacturing more efficient appliances and conserving energy. There are other minor things that can also be done to cut global warming, which can be found at the Natural Resources Defense Council website.
Dow, Kirstin, and Thomas Downing. The Atlas of Climate Change.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: Myriad Editions Limited,
GLOBAL WARMING: What’s Up With The Weather? Dir. Alan Ritsko. Videocassette. A Frontline/NOVA co-production with The Palfreman Film Group, Inc., 2000.