Upon combustion, fossil fuels like coal and petroleum release green house gases like carbon dioxide. As the quantity of carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, the atmosphere becomes a much better insulator and retains an increased amount of solar radiation which in turn increases the overall temperature of the planet. Many scientists believe that the release of carbon dioxide and certain other substances into the air are affecting the earth's climate and causing the average global temperature to rise. There is evidence that the earth's temperature has risen in the past century, but scientists are unable to predict with certainty whether this trend will continue or whether it is definitely linked to human activity.
Global warming has many affects. As the temperature increases, there is a possibility of melting of polar glaciers and ice caps. The resulting water would flow into the oceans and increase the volume of the oceans. This would lead to rise of ocean levels. Scientists estimate that the sea level could rise from any where between 9 to 88 centimeters (Hart 2003). Such an increase would submerge low lying coastal areas in many countries of the world. Global warming also affects human health. If the atmospheric temperature is increased due to global warming, more people will get sick or die from heat stress. ...Show more