Does Cellular Respiration Impact Global Warming? Essay Sample

Published: 2017-10-27
Does Cellular Respiration Impact Global Warming? Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Biology Ecology Global warming
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1110 words
10 min read

Cellular Respiration and Global Warming in Questions and Answers

So, to wrap up, let’s define the term cellular respiration one more time. It’s the process by which the live organisms mix oxygen with foodstuff molecules, transforming the chemical energy into vitally-needed activities and emitting such water and CO2 as waste products. Respiration is the main way cells release chemical energy to replenish the activity of cells. In fact, cellular respiration is a reaction of combustion, but it differs from the common one due to controlled and slow energy release from the sequenced reactions.

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How does cellular respiration affect climate change?

CO2, which is produced by all existing organisms, returns to the atmosphere. This keeps part of the radiant energy received by our planet from being returned to space. It is one of the main reasons provoking the greenhouse effect.The increase of CO2 in the atmosphere affects global warming and climate change on the Earth which has been a number-one topic within the past years. The severe implications of global warming are higher sea levels, dirtier air, acceleration of ocean acidification, higher level of species extinction, etc.

What product of cellular respiration contributes to global warming?

It is carbon dioxide. This gas absorbs and radiates heat. Unlike nitrogen or oxygen, greenhouse gases like well-known CO2 are constantly absorbing the heat but releasing it gradually, the same way as charcoal after the fire burns out. The concentration of CO2 is mostly rising because of the fossil fuels we burn to get energy. The influence of CO2 can be clearly seen in the recent changes in climate. Nowadays, the level of carbon dioxide is higher than ever, and without taking action to control it, there will be undesired consequences.

How does cellular respiration impact the greenhouse effect?

Cellular respiration impacts the greenhouse due to carbon dioxide, which is regularly released. All animals and plants, when breathing, return water vapor and CO2 to the atmosphere. It is a well-known fact that all cells need to respire to get the needed energy. While cellular respiration, oxygen, and glucose are transformed not only into essential energy needed for functioning but into a gas which negatively affects the environment causing a greenhouse effect.

Does cellular respiration produce carbon dioxide?

Yes. Respiration is breathing in oxygen and breathing out CO2. Respiration uses organic molecules like sugar glucose and oxygen for producing energy that is stored in ATP and heat. Water and dioxide are also produced when cellular respiration occurs. Different environmental conditions affect respiration. They include the interaction of species, the process of evolution, agricultural activities, and utilizing fertilizers for increasing nutrients in the soil.

How Does Cellular Respiration Affect Global Warming

Over the past 100 years, the surface of the earth has warmed by approximately 0.5 C. This effect is called global warming. Scientists believe global warming is mostly due to human technology adding gases in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is one of the gases that compose the earth’s atmosphere, and has a great effect on climate. Although some carbon dioxide is released by the cellular respiration of organisms, larger amounts are released when humans burn fossil fuels. Since the industrial revolution, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by about 25 percent.

As early as the 19th century, experts recognized that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere gives rise to a “greenhouse” effect. Think how the closed windows of a car or the glass in a greenhouse will allow sunlight to stream in but will prevent heat from escaping. Similarly, carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases,” such as methane, ozone, and nitrous oxide, allow sunlight to reach the earth but trap and reflect the heat. If there were no greenhouse gases, the earth would be cold and of devoid of life. Too great a concentration of such gases, on the other hand, would cause the temperature to rise. It is clearly evident that human activities disrupts the carbon cycle mostly it two ways.

First is by burning of fossil fuels and second is destruction of rain forests and other vegetable leaves that would otherwise absorb the excess carbon dioxide hence more carbon dioxide entering into the atmosphere. However, this paper will primarily focus on the role cellular respiration plays in global warming. According to (Frank, 2007) the process of carbon cycle produces food and oxygen that all living organisms live on. Part of the carbon produced remains in living matter; the other part is released as CO2 in cellular respiration.

The CO2 released by cellular respiration in all living organism is returned to the atmosphere. In the atmosphere, carbon dioxide acts as a beneficial heat screen because it does not allow the radiation of the earth’s heat into the space. This balance is important. The problem is that as more carbon dioxide from the cellular respiration combined with that emitted from the burning of fossil fuel is released into the atmosphere, the balance can be and is being altered. Frank further warns that the recent increase in consumption of fossil fuels “coupled with decrease in ‘removal capacity’ of the green belt is beginning to exceed the delicate balance.” Massive increases of Carbon dioxide into the atmosphere tend to increase the possibility of global warming. On the other hand The Pearson Guide also ascertains how the atmospheric gases plays a significant role in the global climate and in shielding the surface of the earth the solar radiation.

The emission of carbon dioxide from cellular respiration and industries may affect the ability of the atmosphere to protect us and tamper with the world’s climate. The Pearson Guide suggests that the carbon dioxide released from the cellular respiration and burning of wood or other fossil fuels like coal and petroleum might sink into the plants or oceans but the excess ends up in the atmosphere which leads to global warming effects. About 10% of atmospheric carbon dioxide annually comes from photosynthesis and cellular respiration according to (Mongillo, 2000). This percentage is of great concern to scientists being that CO2 is the greenhouse gas which has the greenhouse effect. When this amount of gas keeps on rising as it has been in the past decades it will cause the temperatures on the earth’s surface to hike which will lead the global warming.


Frank R. Spellman, 2007. The Science of Water: Concepts and Applications, Second Edition. p 161

Mongillo, J., & Zierdt-Warshaw, L. (2000). Encyclopedia of environmental science. Phoenix (Arizona: Oryx Press. p 67

The Pearson Guide To The B.Sc. (Nursing) Entrance Examination. p 101

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