By Eileen Connors

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas
that traps the warmth of the sun’s
rays, making Earth a livable, nonfrozen
planet. Before the industrial
revolution, atmospheric carbon dioxide
concentration was about 290
parts per million.
Today, it’s risen to
about 394 ppm.
have observed rapid
ice melt in the Arctic in the past
few years and have issued a series
of studies showing that the planet
faced both human and natural disaster
if atmospheric concentrations
of CO2 remained above 350 parts
per million, according to
However, Earth surpassed 350 ppm
in the early 1990s.
We must get back to 350 if we want
to prevent drastic changes. But to reduce
emissions, people need to know
how they emit carbon dioxide.
Most electricity is created by burning
coal, which emits the carbon contained
in the coal as carbon dioxide. This is
about two pounds of carbon dioxide for
every kilowatt hour. Gas also contains
carbon, and when burned the carbon is
reemitted as carbon
dioxide. Every gallon
of gas burned
emits 20 pounds
of carbon dioxide.
This adds up fast:
humans emit about 70 million tons
of carbon dioxide every day, creating
today’s global warming.
Turning off unused televisions,
computers and lights will significantly
reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Additionally,
reducing hot water temperature
a few degrees, manually opening a
can or garage door, or only using one or
two lights in a room are also good ways
of conserving electricity.
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