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Do humans contribute to increased climate change on a daily basis?

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monique06 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted January 31, 2013 at 3:39 AM via web

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Do humans contribute to increased climate change on a daily basis?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 31, 2013 at 4:42 AM (Answer #1)

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In answering this, we must first acknowledge that there are groups that do not believe human activity is causing anthropogenic global warming.  Mainstream science does currently support human caused, anthropogenic global warming.

Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. (NASA)

With that acknowledgement, we can say that human beings do contribute on a daily basis to global warming.

This does not mean that the temperature rises from one day to the next in a consistent way.  What it does mean is that the things that people do in their everyday lives lead to global warming.  Most global warming is caused by the carbon dioxide released when we burn fossil fuels.  People clearly contribute to this every day.  Every time a person drives a car with an internal combustion engine, they are emitting carbon dioxide.  Most of the electricity used around the country is created by burning fossil fuels.  Thus, our everyday activities do cause carbon dioxide to be emitted into the atmosphere, thus contributing to global warming.

This does not mean that we must do away with all cars and all electricity in order to stop global warming.  It just means that we need to use much less in the way of fossil fuels.  The environment can absorb some carbon dioxide (through trees and other plants, for example).  We just need to stop emitting so much that we overwhelm the mechanisms that can take carbon dioxide from the air.

The answer, then, is that we do contribute, even if only in small ways, to global warming every day.

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