Carbon dioxide

There is increasing evidence that the level of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere is rising. There is also evidence that humans are responsible for this rise.

There is more carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere because:

  • The increased combustion of fossil fuels has released more carbon dioxide.
  • Increased deforestation has reduced the amount of carbon dioxide being removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis.

The greenhouse effect

Greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide) form a blanket around the Earth’s atmosphere.

This ‘greenhouse blanket’ allows heat from the Sun to enter the atmosphere but then traps it.

This is causing the Earth’s temperature to increase and is known as global warming.

Many politicians and members of the public have only recently accepted that the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is to blame for global warming.

Effects of global warming

A melting glacier

Melting polar ice caps

How to reduce the effects of global warming

  • Planting more trees and reducing deforestation to absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • Burning fewer fossil fuels by using alternative fuels in order to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.
  • Being more energy efficient to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.