The Dangers of Carbon Dioxide Essay

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The Dangers of Carbon Dioxide

Thesis: As the environment encounters damage from increasing levels of carbon dioxide, actions on both governmental and individual levels need to be implemented in order to protect the welfare of future life.

Introduction

In an era of rising technology and increasing population, demands on the environment are continually being pushed to new levels. As a result, it becomes important for us to expand our knowledge about the environment and take appropriate actions to protect this element of most importance to human existence. One component of our environment experiencing some of the greatest abuse due to humans is the air. Air pollution has been on the rise ever since the beginning of
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Some of the major greenhouse gases excluding water vapor are: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons. Of these, CO2 is the most important because of the vast amount released by human activity. Before the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide was 280 ppm; it has now risen to a level of 360 ppm today with an annual increase of 2 ppm (Rising Carbon, 1992).

There are various consequences that may arise if significant global warming begins to take effect. Some scientists believe that over the next 50 years, global temperatures could rise by as much as 1.5-4.5 degrees Celsius worldwide (Climate Change, 1997). Many speculate that this increase in temperatures could produce profound, if not devastating effects to our environment and ourselves. Already, many scientists are attributing some of the severe weather around the world such as hurricanes, floods, and droughts to global warming (Bernard, 1993). The high-latitude regions are likely to have the largest temperature change, while regions such as the North American Great Plains are predicted to feel a large decrease in precipitation (Climate Change, 1997). In regions with a lowered precipitation rate, agriculture would suffer, potentially causing severe economic and food shortage problems. Numerous species of plants and animals could also suffer, causing permanent damage to ecosystems and biodiversity. It is also thought that because of
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