Global Warming Essay

667 words - 3 pages

Global Warming

Global warming, an increase in the earth's temperature due to the use of fossil fuels and certain industrial and agricultural processes leading to a buildup of “greenhouse gases” (principally carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and water vapor) in the atmosphere. Since 1896 it has been known that these gases reduce the escape of the earth's infrared radiation into space and this function to maintain the earth's relatively warm temperature. This is called the greenhouse effect. Although there is broad agreement that human activity, such as burning fossil fuels has reached a scale that is beginning to influence climate, there is much uncertainty and ...view middle of the document...

The potential consequences of global warming are so great that many of the world's top scientists have urged immediate action and have called for international cooperation on the problem.
A number of international efforts have been undertaken to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, the most recent of which occurred in December 1997. Delegates to an international summit on global warming in Kyōto, Japan, approved an agreement, known as the Kyōto Protocol, requiring industrialized nations to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. The pact, signed by officials from 160 countries, requires 38 industrialized nations to accept legally binding limits reducing greenhouse emissions to levels that are an average of 5 percent below the emission levels of 1990. These reduced levels are to be achieved between 2008 and 2012. The United States, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, pledged to reduce its emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels, while the European Union pledged to reduce their emissions to 8 percent below 1990 levels.

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