Fossil Fuels and Climate Change - Understanding our Ecological Future

The Carbon Dioxide Factor

Future Predictions

Forests and Ecosystems

Alternative Outlooks

Fossil Fuels and the Greenhouse Effect- Some Raw Facts

Ultimately, fossil fuels are formed from photosynthesis - decomposed plant and animal matter that have trapped much of the sun's energy. Fossil fuels are used for energy today in the form of crude oil, coal, and natural gas. Currently today, fossil fuels are being depleted at a rate that is 100,000 times faster than they are being formed .
The earth's atmosphere is primarily composed of nitrogen and oxygen gas as diatomic molecules. These gases act as a protective layer to the earth, filtering out incoming harmful ultra-violet radiation. Greenhouse gases, on the other hand, consist of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen in the form of ozone, and as triatomic molecules. These greenhouse gases are what make the earth's atmosphere unique and able to support the life that we have today. These gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone) when combined with water vapor absorb solar radiation (infrared heat) and reradiate the warmth received by the sun back to the earth, instead of letting it all escape out to space.

-Energy for planet earth : readings from Scientific American magazine. New York : W.H. Freeman, c1991. p.2

Links to Other Helpful Sites: - An interview Professor Martin Hoffert of New York University addresses how to live a future without dependance on fossil fuels. - A comprehensive site examining the latest current environmental events. - Run by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, this British site provides a thorough overview of climate change issues. - More current events, overview and general environmental information.

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