Fossil Fuels and the Environment

Fossil Fuels and the Environment
Ever since I was a little girl I?ve been watching cartoon shows like Captain Planet, which talked about pollution and the earth. I didn?t really understand what they were talking about then and its sad to say that only recently have a grasped the true message of the show. As kids and adolescents were mostly told to recycle, it wasn?t until college that I acquired a broader perspective on the subject of preserving the environment.
Fossil fuels are an indispensable part of human survival. However, from beginning to end this process leaves many scars on the planet. In the process of extracting coal for example, we destroy the top soil of the earth. Before the environmental acts, the holes where the excavation was performed were left uncovered, creating acid lakes from the iron pyrite left behind. End use produces pollutants from combustion, such as sulfur and nitrogen oxide (sox and nox), particulate matter (rox), and carbon monoxide (CO) and un-burnt hydrocarbons (uhc). These pollutants, either separately or in combination with one another, are responsible for smog in the ozone, acid rain, and The Greenhouse Effect. Now comes the interesting part. The earth gets the majority of its heat from the radiation of the sun. Most of this heat should be radiated into space, yet this process is being obstructed by the amount of CO2 and other gases.

While researching for this subject I also came across the problem of deforestation. Scientists say, since temperature changes could affect major climate patterns, alter species? habitats, and have other unknown consequences. The melting of the polar Ice caps is the biggest cause for worry at the moment. Rising temperatures have a dramatic impact on Arctic ice, which serves as a kind of ?air conditioner? at the top of the world. Since 1978 Arctic sea ice area has shrunk by some 9 percent per decade, and thinned as well. Climate models suggest that global warming could cause more frequent extreme weather conditions. Intense hurricanes and storm surges could threaten coastal communities, while heat waves, fires and drought could also become more common. Reading this information causes trepidation particularly because of the abnormal amount of Hurricanes that we suffered through this year. This only proves that global warming is real and a bigger threat than we might have envisioned. As mentioned before the earth receives most of it heat form the sun, at least 32% of it is reflected back by the ice caps. However, their melting has made the amount reflected constantly smaller so this is more heat that stays in the earth.

Global warming is a problem that everyone should be interested in. there are many who say that this is something that is bound to happen and they are right. Yet we must take into account that the timing of these changes might be altered because of pollution. Plans have been set in motion in order to stabilize the situation but we have to wonder if they are enough.

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