Carbon dioxide is only one of several greenhouse gases
that trap the sun’s radiation in the Earth’s atmosphere— others include methane, nitrous oxide, and even water vapor. These gases can occur naturally. The amount of radiation reaching the Earth should roughly equal the amount of radiation being sent back into space. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution around 150 years ago, the amount of carbon dioxide being produced by humans has increased dramatically. The amount of carbon dioxide created from burning fossil fuels
(such as petroleum and natural gas) has been a recent area of concern—we produce carbon emissions by generating electricity, burning fuels during transportation and industrial processes, and in our daily lives (both residentially and commercially). The natural resources like trees that usually process the carbon dioxide have been insufficient to handle the quantity of recent emissions. As a result, more and more greenhouse gases are being trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere and elevating temperatures on Earth.
In the near future, large developing countries (such as India and China) are expected to increase their carbon emissions as they fuel their economies. International policymakers are trying to address the problem of global warming, most notably with the Kyoto Protocol, which would push for reduced emissions in industrial nations. Much of the weight of reducing carbon emissions is on large industry, but individuals can help reduce carbon emissions, too. You can start by measuring your own carbon footprint
using an online carbon emissions calculator. There are many small things you can incorporate into your lifestyle that will help reduce your carbon emissions and help you save money, such as using EnergyStar
certified products, recycling, carpooling, etc.