What causes the greenhouse effect and what are the consequences
All living beings are linked to planet Earth. But we don’t always pay the attention that it deserves. We want to encourage you to change your mind on this topic by explaining what causes the greenhouse effect and what are the potential consequences that it may cause.
Before starting, do you know exactly what this phenomenon is? Let us clarify it briefly in the next paragraphs.
What is the greenhouse effect
The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon in our planet that makes living possible, making it liveable. Its name comes from the way it works, as it acts just like a greenhouse would do. It’s simple:
The atmosphere is a gas layer that covers the Earth. It allows the heat from the sun to come through (solar energy) and warm the planet.
It also prevents this heat from escaping to outer space, bringing it back to the Earth’s surface. Without this process, temperatures at the Earth’s surface would be much colder.
The problem is that human activity, by using fossil fuels, has made the greenhouse gas layer thicker, disturbing the natural balance, boosting its effect and causing negative consequences.
What causes the greenhouse effect
In the last 150 years, human activities have been responsible from increasing greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.
The most problematic actions that increase the greenhouse gasses are:
- Transport. According to the World Bank, this sector generates 23% of the CO2 emissions worldwide (it consumes 64% of fuel and 27% of energy on a global level).
- Producing electricity. This also derives from fossil fuels like carbon and natural gas.
- Industries. The energy necessary for producing goods and raw materials is obtained from fossil fuels, and during the process greenhouse gasses are released.
- Trade and homes. To cover for basic necessities, like heating and cooking, both of these burn fossil fuels. The United Nations https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg12 indicate that homes generate 21% of carbon dioxide emissions, consuming 29% of energy worldwide.
- Agriculture and cattle raising. By employing synthetic fertilisers, agriculture contributes to the concentration of nitrogen on the soil and facilitates the release of nitrous oxide. Cattle raising, on the other hand, generates methane during the digestive processes.
- The use of soil and forest spaces. As plants grow they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and accumulate part of the carbon as biomass. Soil can also retain part of the carbon from these plants. This activity is known as biological carbon sequestration. This is the reason why forest areas can either act as sinks or, on the contrary, as a source of greenhouse gasses. Since 1990, forests and other land in the USA have captured more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than the carbon they have released.
Thus, some greenhouse gasses are tightly linked to human activity, such as CO2. But, what are the main gasses that are able to stop the heat?
- Water vapour
- Methane CH4
- Carbon dioxide CO2
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC)
- Ozone (O3)
- Nitrous oxide (N2O)
The international community has agreed to stop global warming because of its widespread effects. Let’s see more on this.
Do you know the consequences of the greenhouse effect?
A natural phenomenon in the planet has become a huge dilemma for it, mainly because of humans. It’s time to become aware of this situation and prevent climate change. These are some predictions:
- The planet’s temperature will rise 0,2 degrees every ten years.
- The glaciers’ surface will decrease and, as a consequence, it will raise waters from oceans and seas.
- Potential flooding in coastal areas or islands.
- Eco-systems will be affected by this and flora and fauna will have to adapt to this new situation.
- Water recources will decrease due to frequent droughts and water evaporation, and many fertile areas will disappear and become deserts.
- Changes in rainfall patterns will have a negative impact upon agriculture and cattle raising.
However, the problem is that many of these changes are real now. For instance:
The fifth evaluation reform from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that sea levels have risen 19 centimetres between 1991 and 2010.
The European comission alerts that repeated extreme climate disasters such as intense rains indicate how climate change endangers nature and makes species change their habitats, and the consequences seen in Europe (more heat waves and droughts in the south and centre of the continent, while the north turns more humid).
What can we do to fight climate change?
According to Eurostat, the European Bureau of Statistics, state memters of the European Union have decreased their release of greenhouse gasses by 22% in 2016 compared to 1990.
Thus, adopting a responsible attitude is the first step. At Eden, we are commited to our clients and the planet. This is shown by our Carbon Neutral certification, that implies we used policy to minimise our environmental impact. Some examples include:
- The reutilization (up to 50 times before recycling them) of our 11-litre and 18,9-libre water bottles, reducing out plastic footprint.
- The use of renewable energy in our European installations.
- Zero-emission solutions, as our CO2 emissions are compensated with Carbon Neutral credits.
We can all contribute to mitigate global warming. Do not stay behind and acquire healthy habits for you, your family and the planet.