In the beginning (the Industrial Revolution – early 18th century.) Transportation – the canals; mechanisation – water, and particularly steam-power began to spread.
The new Mills attracted people into burgeoning towns, the rural areas were correspondingly depopulated, agricultural land was enclosed – and the population grew! Society became more and more dependent upon coal, and then iron. We became increasingly dependent upon “Fossil Fuel” which put much greater quantities of Carbon Dioxide (and other pollutants) into the environment……
The process continued; larger cities, more and bigger mines, improved transportation, huge mills, exploding population, deforestation, devastation of habitats…… more CO2! Come the 20th century more consumption of raw materials, wider ranges of Fossil Fuels with more diverse uses, increasing population (again!), widespread industrialisation, intensive farming, monocultures……. all of which increased Greenhouse Gas emissions and began to raise the atmospheric average temperature!
Thus; the melting of polar ice-sheets (which will NOT raise water-levels) and polar ice-caps (which WILL), potentially permanent disruption of local weather- and global climatic, conditions!
We are stewards of this planet, and are in danger of failing in our obligations to the future, BUT, we are ingenious.
One of the products of our ingenuity is the Air-Source Heat-Pump, which can extract heat energy from the atmosphere, intensify it, then use it to provide comfort in our homes/places of work, transport and leisure. In the process, a heat-pump REDUCES its immediate air-temperature (a localised and insignificant contribution at this early stage – there are only a very few domestic installations in the immediate area, but which could conceivably have impact as acceptance widens).
Yes, it relies on generating more electrical power, but more and more is produced by “renewable” methods (with a steady contribution from Nuclear Technology), thus reducing “waste” heat being expelled into the atmosphere, and a concomitant reduction in a) the consumption of “fossil” fuel resources -much more useful as starting-materials for industrial processes;
How the greenhouse effect traps heat
NOTE; to see the effects, just look at our immediate, planetary neighbours:
VENUS has an atmosphere with a runaway Greenhouse Effect surface temperatures under heavy cloud-cover, exceed 400deg! It is closer to the Sun, and so receives more heat, but the carbon dioxide, sulphuric acid and other gases/vapours tenaciously retain this.
MARS, with its lower gravity as well as distance from the Sun, cannot retain sufficient carbon dioxide to raise its temperature.
Read this interesting explanation of global warming here on the BBC News website.