22. Consequences of the Industrial Revolution

Before the Industrial Revolution, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere was in a rough balance with what could be stored on Earth. Natural emissions of heat-trapping gases matched what could be absorbed in natural sinks. For example, plants take in CO2 when they grow in spring and summer, and release it back to the atmosphere when they decay and die in fall and winter.

Industry took off in the mid-1700s, and large amounts of greenhouse gases were being emitted.

Fossil fuels were burned more and more to run cars, trucks, factories, planes, and power plants, adding to the natural supply of greenhouse gases. The gases—which can stay in the atmosphere ...

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