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Facts About Global Warming

  • Before the Industrial Revolution, the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere was in a rough balance with what could be stored on Earth.
  • Since the mid-1700s, humans have been emitting additional large amounts of green house gases from burning more fossil fuels to run our cars, trucks, factories, planes and power plants.
  • The result is that the globe has heated up by about one degree Fahrenheit over the past century -- and it has heated up more intensely over the past two decades. If one degree doesn't sound like a lot, consider the difference in global average temperatures between modern times and the last ice age was only about 9 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Already, people have increased the amount of carbon dioxide, the chief global warming pollutant, in the atmosphere to 31 percent above pre-industrial levels. There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now than at any time in the last 650,000 years.
  • Scientists expect that in the absence of effective policies to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, the global average temperature will increase another 2 degrees by 2100.
  • Even if the temperature change is at the small end of the predictions, the alterations to the climate are expected to be serious: more intense storms, more pronounced droughts, coastal erosion and increased distribution of infectious diseases. At the high end of the predication, the world could face abrupt, catastrophic and irreversible consequences.