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There are a lot of myths regarding global climate change whether it is about the increase in level of harmful particles in the air or global warming. One of the myths is “Humans are too insignificant to affect global climate.” In order to show that the contribution of humans is not less when it comes to global climate change, we have to understand what kind of changes and to what extent humans are responsible for global climate change.
Global warming is primarily a problem of too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This carbon overload is caused mainly when we burn fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas or cut down and burn forests. There are many heat-trapping gases (from methane to water vapor), but CO2 puts us at the greatest risk of irreversible changes if accumulate unabated in the atmosphere. CO2 has caused most of the warming and its influence is expected to continue. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a global climate assessment in 2007 that compared the relative influence exerted by key heat-trapping gases, tiny particles known as aerosols, and land use change of human origin on our climate between 1750 and 2005.
By measuring the abundance of heat-trapping gases in ice cores, the atmosphere, and other climate drivers along with models, the IPCC calculated the “radiative forcing” (RF) of each climate driver—in other words, the net increase (or decrease) in the amount of energy reaching Earth’s surface attributable to that climate driver. Positive RF values represent average surface warming and negative values represent average surface cooling. CO2 has the highest positive RF (see Figure 1) of all the human-influenced climate drivers compared by the IPCC. Other gases have more potent heat-trapping ability molecule per molecule than CO2 (e.g. methane), but are simply far less abundant in the atmosphere and being added more slowly.
CO2 remains in the atmosphere longer than the other major heat-trapping gases emitted as a result of human activities. In the case of CO2, much of today’s emissions will be gone in a century, but about 20 percent will still exist in the atmosphere approximately 800 years from now. Atmospheric CO2 levels have risen 36 percent in the last 250 years, CO2 (and other gases emitted from industrial and agricultural sources) trap heat in the atmosphere, so it is no surprise that we are now witnessing an increase in global average temperature. So, who is responsible for that? How the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing day by day? We know that now as we have realized that if we want to breathe in clean air and to save our nature from losing it’s beauty, it is really very important to keep a check on our daily activities which directly or indirectly contribute to the rising level of such gases.
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