Global Warming

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The earth’s climate has undergone great changes over time. Until recently, these changes were solely a result of natural variation in the atmosphere. Human activities in the last century, particularly the burning of vast amounts of fossil fuels, have been responsible for alterations in atmospheric composition, changes in weather patterns, and an increase in global temperature of about 0.6 C. During the past 25 years, however, the rate of temperature increase has been even greater and totals to about 2 C if extrapolated over 100 years. In fact, the ten warmest years since 1860 (at which point measurements started) have occurred after 1998. According to data recently released by NASA, the earth is becoming hotter than it has been in the last 12,000 years, and if the current global warming pattern continues, by middle of this century, temperatures will exceed the highest level ever in the last million years.

Burning fossil fuels releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, nitric oxides, methane, and other pollutants acting as the culprits for global warming. These are collectively termed “greenhouse gases”.


(1) Toossi Reza, "Energy and the Environment:Sources, technologies, and impacts", Verve Publishers, 2005

Further Reading

Gore, A., An Inconvenient Truth, Penguin Books, 2007.

Roleff, T., Pollution: Opposing viewpoints, Greenhaven Press, 2000.

Walsh, P. J., Dudney, C. S., Copenhave, E. D., Indoor Air Quality, CRC Press, 1984.

Environmental Science and Technology, published by the American Chemical Society.

External Links

Environmental Protection Agency (

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC), (

United Nations Environment Programme (

World Health Organization (WHO) (