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The Greenhouse Effect Earth is the only planet that we know of that has the right conditions to support life Because of its perfect distance from the sun Earth has an average temperature of 60F making it an ideal place for many types of life to thrive in However the temperature would not be so ideal if we did not have an atmosphere with certain gasses in it Without the help of gasses such as carbon dioxide water vapor and others the Earths climate would not be suitable for life Energy from the sun heats the Earth where that energy is then radiated back into space These gasses trap the energy and make the climate on Earth hospitable Since the beginning of the industrial revolution atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased nearly 30 methane concentrations have more than doubled and nitrous oxide concentrations have risen by about 15 Because of the increase of concentrations of these gasses more energy is trapped within the Earths atmosphere which is slowly increasing the average heat levels Scientists predict that the average temperature will rise 16 63F by the year 2100 which could wreak havoc with climates around the world Why are greenhouse gas concentrations increasing Scientists generally believe that the combustion of fossil fuels and other human activities are the primary reason for the increased concentration of carbon dioxide Energy burned to run cars and trucks heat homes and businesses and power factories is responsible for about 80 of societys carbon dioxide emissions about 25 of US methane emissions and about 20 of global nitrous oxide emissions Increased agriculture deforestation landfills industrial production and mining also contribute a significant share of emissions Rising global temperatures are expected to raise sea level and change precipitation and other local climate conditions Changing regional climate could alter forests crop yields and water supplies It could also threaten human health and harm birds fish and many
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