FAQs about Global Warming

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2. What is the greenhouse effect and what are its consequences?

The greenhouse effect is a phenomenon that has allowed the Earth to maintain temperatures in a fairly uniform range for millions of years, ideal for the development of a great diversity of life. How does it work? The solar rays come from space, bounce off the planet’s surface and try to escape back into the cosmos, but a part is trapped by some gases in the atmosphere, with carbon dioxide (CO2) being the most frequent. In other words, the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere causes a greater absorption of infrared radiation, preventing it from escaping into space, which causes global warming. If this phenomenon did not occur, the Earth would be an icy planet, probably uninhabited like most others, or at least not suitable for life as we know it.

However, this mechanism, which for millions of years has protected the species, can turn against them due to human activity. Since the invention of the steam engine, gasoline and natural gas engines, used in industry, transport systems and agricultural machinery, CO2 emissions have increased in important proportions. Especially since the 1950s constant increases in temperature patterns have been observed. Since then, global warming and climate change began to be seen as a worrisome problem and awareness of climate phenomena has become a daily issue. If global warming continues without being controlled, a massive extinction of species could happen. In addition, events of great intensity and frequency are likely to occur, such as weather events, heat waves, droughts, vegetation fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.

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