Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere every time we burn fossil fuels such as gas, coal or oil. In a natural carbon cycle, carbon dioxide is re-absorbed by plants and trees. However, the rate in which we are burning fuels is way too fast for trees and plants to absorb and convert into breathable air. In addition to that, many rainforests have been lost because of the cutting down of trees, which doesn’t help in the already existing problem. The effect of all this extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is that the overall temperature of the planet is increasing, resulting to global warming. Whilst the average global temperature is increasing, on a day-to-day level the climate is changing in unpredictable ways. There are floods and hurricanes, even heat waves and draughts. In order to reduce the risk of even more erratic weather conditions, we must reduce the amount of fossil fuel we are burning.
Damon Matthews, a professor in Concordia University's Department of Geography, Planning and the Environment has found a direct relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. Matthews, together with colleagues from Victoria and the U.K., used a combination of global climate models and historical climate data to show that there is a simple linear relationship between total cumulative emissions and global temperature change.
His studies show that until now, it is difficult to show how much climate will warm in response to a given carbon dioxide emissions scenario because of the complex interactions between human emissions, carbon sinks, atmospheric concentrations and temperature change. Matthews and colleagues show that despite these uncertainties, each emission of carbon dioxide results in the same global temperature increase, regardless of when or over what period of time the emission occurs.