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Upsetting the Balance: Global Warming

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  The Greenhouse Effect

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Until the last few centuries in Earth's approximate 4.5 billion year history, climate change has occurred as a result of natural forces, mostly at a very slow pace. The evidence of a few catastrophic exceptions shows the devastating effects on many species that were caught in a sudden, cataclysmic climate change. For the first time in history, humans are altering the atmosphere in ways that the majority of scientists think could fuel a new round of climatic disruptions and extremes. Since the Industrial Revolution, human activities have been adding carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere at an ever increasing rate. This dramatic, accelerating build-up of carbon dioxide in the air, 25% greater than 200 years ago, is caused by burning fossil fuels--coal, oil and natural gas.

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