Environmental impacts of energy production - Global Warming Flashcards


Climate Change


Fossil fuels can damage the environment…

The extraction of fossil fuels, e.g. by mining can damage the environment.

Transportation can also cause environmental damage, e.g. through oil spills.

The use of fossil fuels has negative impacts on the environment as well, such as acid depostion and global warming.

Climate Change:

The continued rise in the consumption of oil means a predicted 60% rise in carbon dioxide emissions between 2004 and 2030, mostly from cars, trucks and power stations. More than two-thirds of the increase will come from developing countries as a consequence of fast economic growth and a massive rise in car ownership. This rise will be in addition to that which has already taken place over the last 50 years.

Views still differ over the degree to which human activity has contributed to global warming. However, there is a growing international consensus that human-induced emissions (by burning fossil fuels) of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide etc, are causing climate change. These gases trap the sun’s energy in the atmosphere and cause what is known as the greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide occurs naturally and the greenhouse effect keeps temperatures on the planet at a level that makes it habitable, but current carbon dioxide levels area about 40% higher than they were before the Industrial Revolution.

Most observers agree that the less developed world is more susceptible to the effects of climate change than the more developed world. This is because poorer countries do not always have the infrastructure and resources to counter the effects of climate change. It is not uncommon for single weather events, such as tropical cyclones and floods, to kill thousands of people in regions such as south Asia, southern China and central America. In Africa the UN reports a 40-60% decrease in total water in the large catchment basins of Niger, Lake Chad and Senegal. In a continent already struggling with poverty and famine, climate change is a matter of life and death.

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