So You've probably heard about climate change just about everywhere. But what exactly is climate change and global warming? On a very basic level, it's the world heating up. Climate change is a very complex beast, with hundreds of factors, but let's talk about the fundamental cause at the root at it all, Carbon Dixoide, or CO2. Carbon Dioxide is a naturally occurring gas, it's inside us and everywhere around us, so why is everyone so up in arms about it? Well for hundreds of thousands of years the CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been relatively stable, hovering around 250 parts per million (PPM). But the industrial revolution in the past few hundred years and the drastic increase of fossil fuels being burnt has caused the CO2 levels to shoot up to around 390 parts per million (PPM). This is bad because Carbon Dioxide behaves like a greenhouse, letting heat from the sun into the earth's atmosphere very easily, but making it very hard for it to escape.
Whilst CO2 is the biggest contributor to the greenhouse effect, other gases come into play as well. Methane, Nitrous Oxide and Chlorofluorocarbon or "CFC", all of which have an effect on climate change. The biggest human cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels to generate energy, the same energy you use every time you switch a light on. 65% of carbon emissions come from the burning of fuels. 21% of carbon emissions come from transport, 7% comes from methane emissions from agricultural livestock, going about their business. And the rest comes from various other sources. But here's the kicker, humans only contribute around 0.28% of global greenhouse gases, the rest comes from natural sources, such as volcanos and the oceans.
Of course they don't tell you that on the news, because it's much less terrifying and nobody would care about climate change. But if human contributions are so small why should we care? Well the truth is 0.28% is terrifying, and you have good reason to be worried. Since the formation of the earth greenhouse gases have been in a fine balance, massive amounts of gases, mostly methane, have been constantly released from volcanic eruptions for over 4.54 billion years, but most of these harmful gases have been absorbed back into the oceans, stopping any greenhouse effects from kicking in and taking over. But in the short time humans have been emitting greenhouse gases we have pushed the levels over the edge, it's like a straw braking the camel's back. That small 0.28% of greenhouse gases is enough to send the CO2 levels into harmful amounts resulting in exponentially increasing CO2 levels. Humans are producing more carbon than the oceans can handle. The oceans can only absorb so much carbon, so the remainder is sent into the atmosphere, and when that happens, you're gonna have a bad time. All these effects are compounded by the rapid deforestation of the earth's rain forests.
Since trees directly reverse the effects of global warming, by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, through a process called photosynthesis. The more trees we cut down, the less CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and this results in a vicious cycle and rapidly increasing CO2 levels..