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Video: Why reducing our carbon emissions matters

The temperature-CO? connection

Earth has a natural greenhouse effect, and it is really important. Without it, the average temperature on the surface of the planet would be about -18? and human life would not exist. Carbon dioxide (CO?) is one of the gases in our atmosphere that traps heat and makes the planet habitable.

We have known about the greenhouse effect for well over a century. About 150 years ago, a physicist called John Tyndall used laboratory experiments to demonstrate the greenhouse properties of CO? gas. Then, in the late 1800s, the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius first calculated the greenhouse effect of CO? in our atmosphere and linked it to past ice ages on our planet.

Read more: The three-minute story of 800,000 years of climate change with a sting in the tail at The Conversation

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