Atmospheric Changes Caused by Human Activities: From Science to Regulation

Rowland, F. Sherwood
February 2001
Ecology Law Quarterly;2001, Vol. 27 Issue 4, p1261
Academic Journal
Human activities are steadily changing the trace gas composition of the Earth's atmosphere. Synthetic chlorofluorocarbon compounds eventually decompose in the stratosphere, releasing ozone-depleting chlorine atoms. The 1987 Montreal Protocol has controlled the further atmospheric release of CFCs, but depleted ozone levels will persist throughout the twenty-first century. Accumulation of carbon dioxide, methane, and other "greenhouse gases" impedes the escape of terrestrial infrared radiation, causing a warming of Earth's surface. The release in urban environments of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, usually from automobiles, creates smog. Emission regulations for greenhouse gases and smog will be major problems in the twenty-first century.


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