Are humans to blame for Global Warming?

By Winn Apple   |   Published June, 2012

There are proponents positioning themselves on either side of the proverbial fence arguing the point, “is human activity to blame?” You’re far more likely to stumble across an article attributing human activity with the rise in temperature than any other alternative.

Likely, most of us are not intimately familiar with the elements which have been attributed to the creation of Global warming.  Let’s take a look at the basics.

At the top of the list of terms to discuss would be the umbrella term, Greenhouse gas. This term refers to gas in the atmosphere, which absorbs and emits radiation. Our lovely planet earth is not the only planet in the solar system whose atmosphere contains gases.  The other planets are far less hospitable than our oasis. Infact, without these gases the Earth’s temperature would be significantly cooler than what is currently outside your front door by about 33 degrees Celsius! Woof that would be a harsh winter in Minnesota!

We can thank water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone for keeping us from growing a wooly mammoth coat otherwise needed to stave off frost bite.  These gases are essential for regulating earth’s temperature.

The argument is that human activity has been artificially increasing the concentration of these gases, mainly CO2 and methane in the Earth’s atmosphere. These gases build up and prevent additional thermal radiation from leaving Earth, thereby trapping excess heat.

CO2 , it seems, bears the brunt of blame and entire organizations have been created with the singular purpose of “off-setting” these little buggarts.  Dollars that are donated to these organizations go towards funding alternative energy, planting new trees and much more.

Recently, I’ve run across a few articles regarding termites and the gas they produce. One article states termites are responsible for about 15% of the global methane, but another article, titled,“More Evidence CO2 is Not The Problem: Termites Emit Ten Times More CO2 Than Humans”, claims otherwise.  Interestingly it states that carbon dioxide comprises only 0.035% of our atmosphere and is a very weak greenhouse gas. Although it is widely blamed for greenhouse warming, it is not the only greenhouse gas, or even the most potent. Water vapor is a very powerful greenhouse gas and accounts for at least 95% of any greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide accounts for only about 3%, with the remainder due to methane and several other gases. The article goes on to state, “According to the journal Science (Nov. 5, 1982), termites alone emit ten times more carbon dioxide than all the factories and automobiles in the world. Natural wetlands emit more greenhouse gases than all human activities combined.” Well…who knows. Methane – vs – CO2. I doubt we can point the finger at the wood chompers – as pesky as they may be.

Water Vapor, which is the gas phase of water and the most potent of greenhouse gases, can be produced by a number of factors including volcanic activity – the condensation of which is responsible for clouds, rain, snow and other precipitation. In other words weather.  Now, when this condensation occurs, the energy required for Mother Nature to perform this arduous task is released.  This latent heat of vaporization, as it is termed, is what fuels all of those wild and crazy storms and tropical cyclones.

There is quite a bit of debate regarding CO2 and its impact on water vapor. It seems that it isn’t the CO2, but rather CO2 impact on water vapor that is the issue.

It would seem the verdict is still out within the scientific community. Are we the cause, or is the warming trend part of a natural cycle?

Whether or not CO2 is responsible for the current climate change or not, pollution certainly isn’t good for mother earth. Minimizing our impact and cultivating conscious living remains an essential endeavor.

Admittedly, printing creates waste, but Bacchus Press will continue to minimize our impact by employing the greenest standards and producing a little waste as possible.

Until next time, keep it Green!

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About the Author

In addition to crafting content and blogs, Winn Apple writes short stories and novellas for middle-grade readers. You can find her short stories along with a portfolio on her site, MysticJunkyard.com or on her soon to release website, snugbuggle.com – the best darn place to find short stories for kids.

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