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Our Changing Climate (Grade 7)

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Our Changing Climate

Our world is always changing. Look out your window long enough, and you might see the
weather change. Look even longer, and you'll see the seasons change. The Earth's climate is changing, too, but in ways that you can't easily see.

The Earth is getting warmer because people are adding heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere, mainly by burning fossil fuels. These gases are called greenhouse gases. Warmer temperatures are causing other changes around the world, such as melting glaciers and stronger storms. These changes are happening because the Earth's air, water, and land are all linked to the climate. The Earth's climate has changed before, but this time is different. People are causing these changes, which are bigger and happening faster than any climate changes that modern society has ever seen before.

More than 100 years ago, people around the world started burning large amounts of coal, oil, and natural gas to power their homes, factories, and vehicles. Today, most of the world relies on these fossil fuels for their energy needs. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas, into the atmosphere, which is the main reason why the climate is changing.

Heat-trapping gases are also called greenhouse gases. They exist naturally in the atmosphere, where they help keep the Earth warm enough for plants and animals to live. But people are adding extra greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. These extra gases are causing the Earth to get warmer, setting off all sorts of other changes around the world - on land, in the oceans, and in the atmosphere. And these changes affect people, plants, and animals in many ways.
1. 
What is the main idea of this passage?
  1. Greenhouse gases are essential for life on earth.
  2. A century ago, people's reliance on fossil fuels increased.
  3. The planet's climate is shifting primarily because of human behavior.
  4. Carbon dioxide is extremely damaging to people, plants, and animals.
2. 
Based on the information in this passage, what does the author most likely believe about global warming?
  1. It can be stopped if people just become more aware.
  2. Fossil fuels will run out soon and end the overall problem.
  3. People's actions are the main cause of the international crisis.
  4. Soon the world will lose its reliance on fossil fuels and begin healing
3. 
Which detail would fit best after the last sentence of the text?
  1. These types of gases trap heat in the atmosphere.
  2. Temperatures in this city have dropped ten degrees a year.
  3. Like dominoes, one change sets off another in a cascade.
  4. Some politicians do not accept global warming is a reality.
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