If Earth had no atmosphere, it would be a frozen planet without life. Gases in the atmosphere temporarily trap some of the energy from the sun and convert it to heat, which maintains an average surface temperature on earth that is capable of sustaining life. Human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere dramatically over the last century, forcing increased warming in the lower atmosphere. According to WHO humans have released so much carbon into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation that the atmosphere now contains 32 percent more carbon dioxide today than at the beginning of the 20th century! The burning of fossil fuels is the most common source of greenhouse gases release by humans. This enhanced greenhouse effect is changing climate in a variety of ways and has consequences for human health, even more so in children. The good news is that we can make changes in our communities to reduce the amount of GHG released. Will we?

-Lisa James

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