It is thought that even with the best landfill gas extraction systems installed about half of the total methane produced by any landfill site escapes without being burnt, either in a flare, or in a generator to supply energy. That means that landfill gas climate change is significant.
The escape of the methane into the atmosphere is much more damaging in terms of its Greenhouse Effect than if it is burnt, although burning also produces carbon dioxide.
The Greenhouse Effect is caused by so called ‘greenhouse gases’ in the atmosphere.
These gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapour have existed naturally in the atmosphere for millions of years.
However, it is thought that the amount of these gases has gradually increased since the industrial revolution, due to the activities of man, and that this is causing the earth to get warmer.
Research has shown that the temperature of the earth does vary naturally over time, but that the change has been quite slow, and cycles are evident which take thousands of years.
Current evidence suggests that the temperature rise which started with the industrial revolution is much more rapid than seen previously.
Recent scientific reports suggest that over the next forty years the temperature could rise by another 1.50C to 4.50C, a speed of increase never experienced before on Earth.
This increase in temperature could cause the huge polar ice caps to melt. This would cause sea levels to rise by about 1.5 metres over the next sixty years. Low lying areas of land would be flooded and millions of people may lose their homes.
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