Waste and Climate Change
The populations of humans have increased rapidly over the last 200 years. As a result, more waste is produced. As talked about in a previous chapter, a lot of CO2 is stored in fossil fuels. If these fuels are burned the CO2 is released back into the atmosphere contributing to climate change. The steps to climate change are:
- Most of the heat energy that hits the Earth from the sun is reflected back into space. Only a small percentage of the solar radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, increasing the temperature of the planet.
- When more greenhouse gases, including CO2 and methane, are released into the atmosphere, the atmosphere absorbs a greater percentage of the solar radiation that hits the Earth.
- Over time this can rapidly increase the average global temperature. As a result, there is a loss of biodiversity, a rise in sea levels as the ice caps melt, and more extreme weather will occur.
Scientists are able to measure the rate and damages of climate change using a combination of complex instruments including, satellites and weather stations.
A growing population has also lead to an increase in deforestation. Some of the consequences of deforestation are:
- Less biodiversity as habitats and food sources are destroyed.
- More methane and CO2 is released into the atmosphere, and less CO2 is taken up by plants, increasing the rate of global warming.