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Give a brief explanation of how increasing levels of combustion of fossil fuels is causing global warming and climate change and what measures are being taken to address this problem.

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Introduction

Give a brief explanation of how increasing levels of combustion of fossil fuels is causing global warming and climate change and what measures are being taken to address this problem. In recent decades there has been much debate about the rise in global temperatures and the level of polluting emissions different nations are spilling in to the atmosphere. The increase in these levels of pollutants, a product of burning fossil fuels, is thought by many to be contributing to the warming of the planet. Which if not addressed may cause severe problems for the human race through damaging alterations in climates around the world. Many fuels burned today are formed from crude oil (and are also alkanes). The discovery that the burning of these hydrocarbons produces atmospheric pollutants had led to a push to become less reliant on these fuels and to move towards using and developing fuels which are less damaging and less polluting. One of the main waste products of fossil fuels when burned is carbon dioxide, a so called 'greenhouse gas', which is viewed by many as the main culprit for the gradual rise in global temperatures seen in the last century. ...read more.

Middle

It acts like a blanket, and traps the infra-red radiation, in so doing the earth's atmosphere heats up. Carbon dioxide is necessary in the atmosphere, as for without it the earth would become too cold to sustain life. But increasing levels of it in the atmosphere means more heat is becoming trapped in the atmosphere and consequently it further heats it up. The main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, water vapour and methane. Though levels of water vapour and methane has been measured and shown not to have altered significantly in recent years, whereas carbon dioxide levels have, and significantly so. Though water vapour and methane are more 'effective' in the process than carbon dioxide it is felt by scientists that the rising levels of carbon dioxide, through the increase in the combustion of fossil fuels over the last century, has a direct correlation/link with the increase in the average global temperature over the same period. Increases in global temperatures through global warming as a result of increased carbon dioxide trapped in the upper atmosphere is likely to cause climate change, where weather patterns are shifted and unusual weather occurs in differing regions of the planet. ...read more.

Conclusion

The most obvious way of reducing human made carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere is simply to use other forms of energy, which don't produce the polluting greenhouse gases, the increase in the use of hydroelectricity and solar and wind energy must be the way forward. People should also be energy conscious and reduce their consumption wherever possible, thus reducing the levels of carbon dioxide being produced by man. The development of hydrogen based energy for transport needs is an area under current research and development, which will one day hopefully see us become less reliant on crude oil and its products. The promotion of recycling is both beneficial to a society in terms of environmental and economical factors. The re-use of plastics and metals should be encouraged wherever possible, reducing the need to make new 'fresh' product. One such technique governments are incorporating in reducing their emissions is a process called Carbon capture and Storage (CCS). This is a process whereby waste carbon dioxide is transferred and stored in the deep oceans or stored deep underground, or where it is reacted with metal oxides to form stable minerals. Encouraging plant and tree growth to replace much of the deforested areas of the world is seen as a key area in increasing photosynthesis, whereby more carbon dioxide is absorbed. ...read more.

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