Climate Change

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Human Contribution to Climate Change

[Writer's University]

Human Contribution to Climate Change

Thesis Statement

“Human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels, is a major contributor to climate change”.


The world's climate is a complex system of interacting parts. It changes naturally and by human activities. The natural factors that result in climatic changes included the interaction between the atmosphere and ocean, deviation of earth from its orbit and the change in energy received from the sun. However, strong evidences exist on the fact that recent global warming is not the outcome of natural factors. The changes experienced in the last few years, and those expected in the upcoming years, are the outcomes of human activities.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific advisory body, constituted by the United Nations, to analyze and monitor the climate changes. As per the report issued by the organization, human activities are the major cause of the climatic changes in the recent times. The last hundred years have seen a lot changes. The Earth has tolerated the temperature up to 0.75 degrees Celsius. Levels of oceans and seas have risen, and ice bergs and glaciers have melted. All these changes are likely to result in disastrous calamities like floods and droughts in the upcoming decade (Lohmann, 2010).

Fossil Fuels

When living organisms die, and their remains are heated, and compressed for extended periods of time, it results in the formation of Fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas. The oil and natural gas consumed today was formed when aquatic plants and zooplankton amassed on the sea side hundreds of millions of years ago. This accumulated organic material became buried under layers of sediment, in the absence of Oxygen. Ultimately, it got split into compounds of carbon and hydrogen called hydrocarbons. Likewise, when terrestrial plants and animals decompose in muddy areas, it results in the formation of coal.

When fossil fuels are heated and burned, they generate huge amounts of valuable energy. Moreover, heated fossil fuels also form carbon dioxide, releasing the carbon rapt in the geosphere, into the carbon cycle (Downie, 2009).

Fossil Fuels and the Climate System

The burning of fossil fuels is the major contributor to human-caused climate changes. Carbon discharged from it, and other human activities, is responsible for around 3.2 billion metric tons of CO2 in the atmosphere annually. The fact that the carbon cycle is unable to absorb all of the excess carbon, atmospheric concentrations of this gas have increased to 400 parts per million (ppm) in the modern age, from 280 parts ppm in preindustrial times. As of today, levels of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are at its highest in at the last 650,000 years. These fuels saturate the carbon cycle between the atmosphere and the oceans, soil, rock and vegetation. Once mined and burned, these fuels cannot be trapped underground in the form of deposits. Moreover, there is not sufficient space in the Earth or the geological system to hold the excessive amount of carbon released. The industrialized and developed nations are ...
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