The Global Environment In recent years we have seen the rise of global environmental problems, especially those dealing with the degradation of the global atmosphere. In these cases it is as if all the nations of the world are using the global atmosphere for a waste disposal for their enormous emissions from production. This is important because the atmosphere does not have imaginary borders like countries, it belongs to everyone.
Depletion of the earth's protective ozone layer has been a result of the widespread use of chlorofluorocarbons for refrigerants, solvents, and other uses around the world.
What once were regarded as "miracle chemicals" now have turned out to be life threatening to both humans and the global ecosystem. The increased ultraviolet radiation this will produce at the earth's surface is expected to increase skin cancers and eye cataracts and have a substantial impact on agricultural production. Damages also are expected in other parts of the earth's physical ecosystem.
In recent years chemical companies have had success in developing substitutes for chlorofluorocarbons. This greatly facilitated the signing of the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement among most of the nations of the world that will eventually lead to an end to the production and consumption of chlorofluorocarbons over the next few decades.
The global greenhouse effect will be more difficult to deal with. This natural effect traps heat in the atmosphere near the earth's surface. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, ozone, methane, water vapor, and nitrous oxide enhance this phenomenon. Burning fossil fuels has increased the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, affecting the earth's radiation balance and leading to an increase in mean global temperatures. Substantial impacts are expected on weather patterns around the globe due to the phenomenon. These are expected to disrupt agricultural operations in significant ways. A...