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Causes of Global Warming

Greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect

Global warming is due to an enhanced greenhouse effect’. This enhanced effect is caused by an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases are largely CO2 and other oxides produced by burning fossil fuels but also include methane produced by farming, landfill waste and melting permafrost and CFCs. It is people who have released all these gases, through manufacturing, farming and energy use.

The 'greenhouse' effect - what is it?

The 'greenhouse' effect - what is it?


Most people regard the 'greenhouse effect' as one of the most serious environmental issues facing the earth. In fact, the 'greenhouse effect' is a natural atmospheric system to trap in heat, which is provided by gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. These gases allow short-wave radiation to pass through the atmosphere, but absorb some of the long-wave radiation trying to escape.  Without this effect, the earth would have an average temperature of minus 17oC.

To understand how the greenhouse effect works,  view this animation.

Why are there concerns about it?

Why are there concerns about it?

The problem is that, over the last few hundred years, human activity has dramatically increased the quantities of these gases in the atmosphere, making the 'greenhouse' effect far more efficient at retaining heat.

Where do the greenhouse gases come from?


Fossil fuels

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