The Nuclear Energy Option: An Alternative for the 90's

By Bernard L. Cohen | Go to book overview

APPENDIXES

CHAPTER 3

More about the Greenhouse Effect14

Carbon dioxide is responsible for only about half of the Earth's greenhouse effect warming. Methane, which is increased by escaping natural gas, contributes 18%, and nitrogen oxides, which are products of fossil fuel burning, account for 6%. Another major contributor is chlorinated fluorocarbons (CFCs), which are responsible for 14%. These are familiar as the working material in air conditioners, refrigerators, and freezers, and as the propellant in spray cans. (Other important sources of methane include flooded rice paddies and cows burping up gas from their stomachs.)

Another cause of the greenhouse effect is cutting down forests, since plants take carbon dioxide out of the air. Clearing of the Amazon rainforest is believed to be especially serious. Worldwide, an area of forests equal to

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