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Tess McNamara

Prof. McKeever
English 1010
2 May 2016
Word Count: 746
Man-Made Climate Change
The warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations
of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice,
and rising global mean sea level. The Earths average surface temperature has risen by 0.76
degrees celsius since 1850. Most of the warming that has occurred over the last 50 years is very
likely to have been caused by human activities. There are many impacting actions done by
humans that are severely affecting the climate change such as burning fossil fuels, clear cutting
forests, and agricultural practices.
First, when burning fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal), carbon dioxide is released into
the atmosphere. In result of the carbon dioxide being released, the layer of greenhouse gas gets
larger and larger the more we burn. With that layer getting larger, this is essentially warming the
earth. Generating electricity through the burning of fossil fuels, in particular carbon-heavy coal,
has a greater impact on the atmosphere than any other single human activity. To run a single 100watt light bulb 24 hours a day for a year, a coal fired power plant will produce around 840
kilograms (1852 pounds) of carbon dioxide. On average, 700 tonnes of carbon dioxide are
spewed into the atmosphere per second from coal fired power plants. As for the emissions from
the burning of fossil fuels affecting the health of humans, it is predicted that in the United States,
23,600 deaths a year are attributed to air pollution from power plants. When burning coal for

example, it is responsible for some 554,000 asthma attacks, 16,200 cases of chronic bronchitis,
and 38,200 non-fatal heart attacks annually.
Secondly, clear cutting forests (deforestation) is another human activity affecting the
climate change. On average, 30 million acres of forests are cut down every year. Forests play an
essential role in the carbon cycle on earth. When forests are cut down, not only does carbon
absorption end, but also the carbon stored in the trees gets released into the atmosphere as carbon
dioxide. It is estimated that more than 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide are released to the
atmosphere due to deforestation, mainly the cutting and burning of forests, every year.
Deforestation can also stop the growing process of other trees as well. In tropical areas for
example, trees cool the air surrounding them by turning the water from the soil into moisture. If
the trees are cut down, then the cooling discontinues, and can stop the growing of trees around
the area that were possibly left up.
Lastly, agriculture (farming) is a human activity affecting the climate. The
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that agriculture contributes to twelve
percent of the greenhouse emissions. The use of pesticides and fertilizers contaminates the soil,
and when moistened, gets released into the air by the cooling effect. Nitrous oxide is also
released when using the fertilizers. The use of oil and fuel to run the tractors and other machines
is released as well. As far as cattle, methane is released from the rice cultivation and the and
enteric fermentation in cattle. All together, farming processes have fifty four percent of methane
emissions, around eighty percent of nitrous oxide, and pretty much all the carbon dioxide related
to land use.
In conclusion, most people would argue all the pros of burning fossil fuels, deforestation
and farming. For burning fossil fuels, it is easily accessible, provides large amounts of energy,

and are not expensive. For cutting down trees, it provides lots of employment, open land for
housing, and the availability of wood products (pencil, paper, etc). Lastly for farming, it
produces food crops, some crops can be used as fuel, and the food that is produced on pastures is
healthier and can help fight disease. People only look at the advantages for their own
convenience. Burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and farming are all drastically affecting the
climate change by the amount of bad fumes they release into the atmosphere. All three negatively
contribute to all the greenhouse gas emissions that are continuing to warm the earth. Over the
last fifty years, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by thirty percent
due to greenhouse emissions like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and other gases, trapping more
heat in the lower atmosphere. Therefore, climate change is entirely man-made.