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Carbon Dioxide Emissions - Only Part of the Story
Posted On 12/04/2008 18:11:44 by martin

When discussing the greenhouse effect it is important to keep in mind that things like methane emissions and carbon dioxide emissions have been around for longer than humans have. Methane and carbon dioxide are both naturally occurring gases that meet some specific needs in the natural order of the planet.

The problem is that, since the industrial revolution, we have been producing them in larger quantities than the planet can handle. Naturally, these gases then hang around in our atmosphere waiting to be processed and in the meantime they absorb heat. That is why greenhouse gases are dangerous and that is how they are contributing to the problem of global warming.

But unnatural carbon dioxide emissions, methane emissions, nitrous oxide emissions and other chemical byproducts or emissions can really put a damper on the ecosystem. It is the sheer volume of that has been created and unlike our previous thoughts on humanities affect on the environment was too small to make a difference, we are quickly being proven wrong. Greenhouse gases are out there in such great amounts that they are throwing off the balance of the environment.

It is the amount of carbon dioxide emissions and methane emissions that are causing the problem. The fact that they are here at all is not the issue. They are naturally occurring gases that help the planet survive. The problem is that we are now producing so much of them that the plants and trees can't process the carbon dioxide into oxygen as fast as we are producing it. Our actions regarding clear cutting the world's forests further exacerbates this issue.

But where does all of these carbon dioxide emissions come from?  Each time a human or animal takes a breath an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place.  Oxygen is taken in and carbon dioxide is exhaled.  As our world population climbs, so too does the number of animals consumed for meat and with it the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.  In a balanced ecosystem Greenhouse gases are perfectly natural but it is when populations exceed what nature can adequately sustain that problems arise.

If carbon dioxide emissions and methane emissions were the only types of gas emissions we had to think about, we'd be a lot better off. But our very civilization is based on things that produce gases we created ourselves, unnatural poisons that we're dumping into the environment. It would be silly to think that we could go back to the way things were. Greenhouse gases are here to stay, and probably in large quantities, but we can just think about it a little more clearly and maybe make a difference to the planet.

Tags: Carbon Dioxide Emissions Methane Greenhouse Gas Global Warming


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