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Anthropogenic Global Warming: 5 Man-Made Contributors to Climate Change

Image: Anthropogenic Global Warming: 5 Man-Made Contributors to Climate Change
Steam rises from the cooling towers of the Jaenschwalde coal-fired power plant near Peitz, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Sunday, 09 Nov 2014 01:44 PM

Driving, breathing, and just plain living are some of the reasons for anthropogenic global warming, meaning human activity that increases the production of greenhouse gases.

Although even the most ardent climate change activists wouldn’t advocate eliminating these daily measures, there are ways to reduce the emissions that warm the planet if you know the causes.

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Here are five man-made sources that contribute to climate change:

1. Electricity that powers appliances and gadgets at home or in the office runs on fossil fuels from power plants. The burning of fossil fuels is a major culprit in emitting carbon dioxide to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere where it remains for a long time, increasing the effects of global warming.

Aside from anthropogenic climate change, carbon dioxide is also released through volcanic activity and even breathing, but burning fossil fuels for energy increases the carbon dioxide concentration by 30 percent, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

2. Planes, trains, automobiles, and other means of transportation get from place to place with the benefit of fossil fuels. The EPA points out that more than 90 percent of the fuel used for vehicles comes from gasoline, diesel, and other petroleum-based factors that release greenhouse gas emissions.

Buying the most fuel-efficient vehicle you can find, getting regular tune-ups to cut down on emissions, and keeping tires at the proper pressure can help. Under-inflated tires increase fuel and gas emissions.

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3. Industry has long been identified as a major offender in anthropogenic global warming. The burning of fossil fuels from coal and oil for energy increases the concentration of carbon dioxide into the air. Industry also produces a variety of goods and raw materials that create chemical reactions and greenhouse gases.

Chlorofluorocarbons used in refrigerants, air conditioners, aerosol sprays, fire extinguishers, and pesticides were once a major concern. However, these chemicals are no longer the villains they once were due to global environmental agreements by nations that have been reducing their use with the aim of eliminating them altogether.

4. Land use and deforestation unleash high concentrations of carbon dioxide when cutting down trees for paper or construction, and clearing areas for urban or farm use to build new structures in turn requires more energy from fossil fuels, which causes more carbon emissions.

A growing population continues to make this a seemingly unavoidable consequence of anthropogenic climate change. The clearing of land for housing and industry also results in the decomposition of organic matter in landfills. This raises levels of the hydrocarbon gas methane, also blamed on cow flatulence. Fortunately, methane is not as abundant in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

5. Agriculture dates back thousands of years and served many of the needs of humankind until the industrial revolution arrived. However, the production of organic fertilizer, different cultivation practices in the modern age, and fossil fuels needed for machinery have elevated nitrous oxide, another greenhouse gas.

From the fields to the industries and to the homes where people need food, crops require large quantities of fertilizer that eventually increase the dangerous greenhouse gases that contribute to anthropogenic global warming.

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Driving, breathing, and just plain living are some of the reasons for anthropogenic global warming, meaning human activity that increases the production of greenhouse gases.
anthropogenic, global warming, man-made, contributors
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2014-44-09
Sunday, 09 Nov 2014 01:44 PM
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