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Global and Domestic Carbon Dioxide Emissions & their Effect on Climate Change

The United States and the World face a dilemma whose result, if left unresolved, may severely impair life as humans know it on this planet. The problem lies in the near absolute reliance on a carbon-combustion economy [1] to provide us with heat, electricity, manufactured goods, and global transportation. As a result of the liberation of the chemical energy held in the bonds of hydrocarbon fuels, millions of tons of stable infrared absorbing gases are spewed out into the atmosphere with little regards toward emissions control or future removal. These gases form a blanket over the surface of the earth, such that the heat buildup up due to incident solar radiation cannot escape back into space, and a net warming of the earth results.

The massive climate change or "global warming" scenario caused by the so called "greenhouse gases" such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) that absorb electromagnetic radiation in the infrared, is not without dispute. Arguments ceased several years ago on the possibility of the trend, and now conversations revolve around the time necessary for the warming inception. In fact, without the natural greenhouse effect, if no trace gases existed in the atmosphere, the mean earth temperature would be 32°C (58°F) less [2], thus below the freezing point of water, and for life on earth. Current sophisticated computer climate change models conclude that by 2050 or before, the level of CO2 in the air will double from 18th century levels and leave a 4°C (7°F) increase on the mean earth temperature [2]. Though the temperature variation appears small, no change of this magnitude has ever been recorded in the geological time history of the planet, and when change has occurred by +/-1°C (+/-2°F) on the geologic record, the progression occurred over centuries if not millennia. We face a catastrophic global temperature increase of 1°C (2°F) per decade, without knowledge of the alterations that may occur in weather, precipitation patterns, ocean levels, and to life in general.

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