Climate Change

Published on April 18th, 2009 | by ziggy

Human Global Warming: What Are the Main Causes?

airplane humans cause global warming

To understand how humans cause global warming, it is important that you are aware of the link between your daily activities and the greenhouse effect. Furthermore, once you understand this, it is easy to see that you have the power to help stop global warming from getting worse.

The primary way humans cause global warming is by burning fossil fuels. This increases the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, which leads to an increase in the Greenhouse Effect.

Note: for proof on the common knowledge that humans cause global warming, check out that link or this one on human vs natural causes of global warming.

Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have been using fossil fuels to power machines. Now, nearly everything you consume, nearly every product you buy, and many of your daily activities, involve the use of fossil fuels. You contribute to global warming:

When You Drive or Fly

Every time you drive a car, carbon-rich auto exhaust enters the atmosphere. The use of jet fuel in plane travel also adds a great deal to your carbon footprint. (Though, cars contribute more per passenger mile in the long run). The transportation option that uses the least energy per passenger mile is clearly the bicycle. Automobiles (especially SUVs, light trucks, and minivans) use the most, followed by planes. Passenger trains, electric vehicles, and ships sit somewhere in the middle. Of course, the more energy used, the more greenhouse gases are emitted, the more humans cause global warming.

When You Eat Meat and Exotic Foods

The food industry, especially the meat industry, is one of the primary sources of greenhouse gases, according to some recent studies. (Note: it seems very likely that at least 51% of greenhouse gas emissions are from the livestock sector.)

Eating food that is shipped long distances adds to greenhouse gas emissions. Consider the fact that the average food item you eat travels over 1000 miles from farm to fork. In addition, conventional agriculture uses massive amounts of petroleum-based fertilizers.

Eating beef and drinking milk also adds to greenhouse gases, since cows emit significant amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon.

One of the best ways to cut your greenhouse gas emissions is by going vegetarian.

When You Use Electricity

Although some power generation is now being done with solar and wind energy, the chances are high that the electricity you use is generated from coal-burning power plants.

When You Move Into A New Development

If you decide to move into a new suburban development near the edge of town, you’re increasing the profits developers get from cutting down trees and paving over farm land. When farms and forests disappear, the land loses the ability to absorb carbon, and emissions from other activities have an even greater effect.

What You Can Do

The effects of global warming have the potential to be devastating to humanity and the planet, which is why you must act now. You can reduce your impact on the climate by greening your transport, eating vegetarian or vegan (or doing so more), and/or going solar. Take action today!

Related Articles:
1. How Humans Cause Global Warming
2. How to Prevent Global Warming on Your Way to Work
3. Ways to Prevent Global Warming Through Natural Building
4. Why Going Vegetarian for One Day Will Help Stop Global Warming

Image Credit: DocBudie ツ [away 🙁 again] via flickr (CC license)

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About the Author

I'm a 26-year-old currently living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri, an intentional community devoted to sustainable living and culture change. Things you might find me doing here (other than blogging) are building with natural materials, gardening, beekeeping, making cheese, candlemaking, and above all else, living simply. You can read about my on-going natural building projects at:

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! This Help with my report! 😀

  • Dab if you want to

    Nice reply Danna

  • badboy 17

    sehad i am watching you

  • Badboy 17

    Your all dumb

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  • John Ward

    If there are many climate scientists who dispute the conclusion that global warming is caused by humans, why don’t they publish research backing this view? Why do the same names keep popping up? Willie Soon’s badly flawed research has been in the sesrvice of the gas and oil companies that have funded all of his research for the past decade. Richard Lindzen has an extensive publication record, but his arguments about climate change have not stood up to examination: And a new review of all of the published research on global warming over the past two years in peer-reviewed journals found only one report disputing the accepted view that we are responsible:

  • ebrahim

    this was VERY helpful

  • ebrahim

    this was VERY helpful

  • poo

    This is an issue that extends outside of America. The world needs to switch to renewable energy sources

  • care

    That is a nice reply

  • Koko Enis

    some people need to care for our world so that we will be able to grow more into the future with all the things we have now.

  • Koko Enis

    some people need to care for our world so that we will be able to grow more into the future with all the things we have now.

  • Kdannykovacs

     yea why should we get blamed for it thats not right

  • Osci


  • Peter Davison

    i dont like hamburgers

  • Me


  • I hate boyz

    I hate you you are a racist poophead

    • sorry about that, the comment seemed to slip through before i was moderating i think. it’s been deleted.

  • Joan Bennett

    Please include information regarding having children. If humans are really the cause of climate change (and I believe we are), please put something in about remaining childless. Even liviing simply, a western child uses more resources than those in third world countries, so the problem isn’t just with “them”. We selfish westerners who have children just so we can say we had the experience, these days, should take some responsibility and not have everything we want. Modern contraception in the western world is excellent and people should make use of it for the good of this poor planet and all the other species we are displacing, too.

    • Hello. Personally I believe that the problem is not the children but the excessive use of technology. If a Western child were to be brought up eating home-cooked food without any technology use at all, it would benefit the Earth a lot more than not having children. If the burning of fossil fuels were reduced by the 50%, the Earth would benefit twice as much because less greenhouse gases are released into the air.

  • If all humans are concerned about is their carbon footprint and CO2 levels, and not the vast array of other chemicals, gasses and pollution in the atmosphere which we create, indirectly, by supporting certain industries and businesses, then we are blind to the real threat of our atmospheric chemical soup. There are many less conspicuous but far more dangerous chemicals and gasses being pumped into the atmosphere, some of which hold far more heat than CO2, and combined they pose a much bigger risk, causing climate change and extreme weather events which make global warming seem like the understated tip of the iceberg.

    How long will our atmosphere protect and nurture us if it is becoming unstable and prone to more extreme climate change, even on a daily basis? If we continue to destroy ecosystems, forests and vegetation on a global scale, Oxygen levels will be reduced and plants will not absorb CO2 or other de-stabilizing toxins in the air and soil. Climate control vegetation is one sure way to bring the atmosphere and biosphere back into a more harmonious state. Further destruction of the Plant Kingdom and pursuit of polluting technology will surely lead to an even more serious global warming catastrophe.

    REGREEN THE URBAN/DESERT PLANET….with a Global Paradise Quest at CoolGlobe.Net

  • Sorry going veggie is not even an option… i do almost everything else..i don’t own a car i ride or walk to work.. i recycle 85% of my garbage, but i will never be a vegetarian.

  • Do you think if everyone started planting trees that it would help reduce CO2? Do you think carbon offsets could actually nullify the carbon output?

    • i think carbon offsets AND carbon reductions are needed. but, certainly, carbon offsets from planting trees are HIGHLY needed and would be a tremendous help 😀

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  • i tried in the past and i like it, just keep it up!

    i am sorry if i wrote in wrong section and please admins to move this to another place.

    i am find ways to make money on the net. what posibilities we have? have you ever tried survey sites? i
    t seems to be easy to make money. i found myhotrevenue dot com in my searches. IS this legit? anyone know?

  • we r like frogs in a pot of water comming to a boil we dont realize the slow suddle change creeping up on us until its too late! WE NEED TO FIX THAT!

    • @klarisa: i always think of that analogy. perfect one

  • Well worth the read. Thanks for sharing this information.

  • sweet wibsite!

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  • The main cause of global warming is the generation of electricity. To generate electricity we have to burn fossil fuels which emits very hazardous chemicals. This causes the generation of green house gases which is very dangerous to our environment. Different greenhouse gases have very different heat-trapping abilities. Some of them can even trap more heat than CO2. A molecule of methane produces more than 20 times the warming of a molecule of CO2.

  • another main thing that we as individuals can do is reduce our plastic consumption. start by using tote bags and by reusing your food and drink utensils, which better be made by glass and stainless stil.

  • jane doe

    jeez don't be a hater man every raced or ethnicity cares about money

  • Happy Hippy

    Thank you. It helped me get my report done and informed me.

  • Dylan

    Yeah its all them. Just because we make two more persent of the worlds polution they blame us.

  • sam

    awesome no one cares!!!!! oh my god globel warming! runnn for ur lives

  • nonameJoe


  • nonameJoe

    This website is GREAT!!!!

    It helped with my report, thank you.


  • Eric

    good article shame them adults are ruining the planet and having to leave us kids to repair it.

    • allybobba

      over dramatic. im pretty sure u are or are going to drive a car and u probably eat hamburgers like the rest of america.

      • poo

        This is an issue that extends outside of America. The world needs to switch to renewable energy sources

  • hey

    its all al’ gores fault. if hes so smart he would of figured all if this out sooner. he pretty much signed all of our death sentences.

  • hey

    calm down bro..

  • kelsey

    everybody is causing global warming and everyone jsut needs to admit it!!

  • gina

    I have a bology presentationn on the human effects of global warming if anyone has any can help please let me know

  • Adam

    I think this a great website to look at and see what many mistakes has people past the many years of pollution.

  • Adam

    this is such a cool website to learn about global warming.

  • bob


  • tom

    After this post I started to do some research on what is out there on the web in terms of major educational projects and ran across this website:

    Its an expedition that is set to begin this November, led my a man named Andrew Regan. I think what they are doing in terms of research, and pioneering more environmentally friendly ways to traverse the arctic, is pretty cool. I also think there need to be more things out there like this for public awareness. The first step towards any change is through public action to the problem.

  • elie

    another main thing that we as individuals can do is reduce our plastic consumption. start by using tote bags and by reusing your food and drink utensils, which better be made by glass and stainless stil.

  • debra

    Thanks for this post! This is the most direct and effective way of linking our current lifestyle and how it directly hurts the planet. I wish there was more information out there available to the public that is this simple and forward, awareness is key to change. Does anyone know of any major educational projects or research on global warming going on currently?

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  • Kiera

    I am a high school student and I find that people are so selfish and ignorant… They don’t care about anyone but themselves… it is impossible to change if people don’t ADMIT they are wrong.

    • well i hope you learn in high school that this is not the only time the earth has gone through global warming and cooling. your just a kid and need to open your eyes to true research and not what main stream media wants you to believe. but thats okay your like a lot of other people that are not educated in the hoax of global warming. have you ever thought of the money revenue that global warming scam has made?

      • Really boshay? You’re chastising a high school kid for not being educated, yet you have a ridiculous amount of grammar/spelling errors in your post. You just proved her point.

  • Thanks for putting this together. I found the post on twitter and just ReTweeted it. I greatly appreciate having a source for this kind of information. Keep planting those seeds across the internet!

  • David B

    Let’s let our kids enjoy this beautiful planet. Burning fossil fuels should be illegal. Solar, wind, and etc. is the energy of today and the future. New Technology will help THE cause to breathe clean air again.

    • care

      That is a nice reply

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