Home Food For Thought Environment What Is Greenhouse Effect? 5 Effective Ways To Reduce It

What Is Greenhouse Effect? 5 Effective Ways To Reduce It

what is greenhouse effect
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Aside from the general myth, the greenhouse effect is actually a good thing as it maintains a moderate average temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) on the earth, making life on Earth bearable. Without it, the world would resemble Mars in terms of being frozen and uninhabitable. The issue is that mankind’s insatiable greed which is disturbing and amplifying the natural greenhouse effect which in turn is causing the main problem.

What Is Greenhouse Effect

The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that causes the Earth’s surface to get warmer by trapping the sun’s energy and other solar radiation and temperature rises. The greenhouse gases when fail to escape or treated, the gases absorb the leftover solar radiation thus warming up the surface of the earth. 

There are few examples of greenhouse gases. Though they are supposed to be present on earth in balanced form, the factors induced by human beings encourage the increase in level of these gases.

The absorbed energy warms the planet’s surface and atmosphere. This warming effect keeps the Earth’s temperature roughly 33 degrees Celsius higher than it would be otherwise and keeps the warm air intact, allowing life to exist on the planet.

Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap heat and raise the global temperatures of the earth. Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor (all of which exist naturally) are the main greenhouse gases or heat-trapping gases present in higher concentrations, and apart from these, there are other greenhouse gases such as fluorinated gases (which are synthetic). Since nature is balanced on its own, the greenhouse gases are naturally balanced on earth with the help of environmental factors. The carbon dioxide is taken in by plants and turned into oxygen, which therefore maintains a balance of carbon dioxide on earth.

1. Carbon Dioxide

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Carbon dioxide molecules, which are made up of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms, make up a minor fraction of the atmosphere but have a huge impact on climate. Excess carbon dioxide emissions are mostly caused by the combustion and burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. It is thus one of the main greenhouse gases emitted. These fuels are used for a variety of purposes, including vehicle power and energy generation, as well as the production of industrial chemicals which in the end lead to the production of this greenhouse gas.

2. Methane

Methane molecules are made up of four hydrogens and one carbon atom and they absorb more heat than Carbon dioxide and methane hence is much worse. Natural gas is primarily composed of methane. It can also come from a variety of biological sources. Rice production, animal dung, cow digestion, and the breakdown of trash disposed of in landfills are among them.

3. Nitrous-Oxide

Nitrous-oxide consists of two nitrogen and one oxygen molecule and is one of the most dangerous greenhouse gas. Nitrous oxide is released during agricultural, land use, industrial, and fossil fuel and solid waste combustion, as well as wastewater treatment.

4. Fluorinated gases

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride are the four primary kinds (NF3) of strong greenhouse gases produced by a wide range of industrial operations. They are primarily used as refrigeration systems, foam-blowing agents, aerosol propellants, solvents, and fire suppressants. Fluorinated gases are sometimes utilized to replace ozone-depleting chemicals in the stratosphere (e.g., chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and halons). These gases are normally emitted in smaller quantities, but they are also referred to as High Global Warming Potential gases because of their potency as greenhouse gases (“High GWP gases”).

5. Water Vapor

Water vapor, the most common greenhouse gas in the atmosphere which is a result of natural processes, differs from other greenhouse gases in the form that its atmospheric concentrations are not linked to the warming caused by the other greenhouse gases we release, rather than to human activities directly. More water is held in warmer air, more water absorbs more heat, leading to even more warming and a positive feedback cycle.

Causes Of Greenhouse Effect

There are many reasons for the cause of greenhouse effect, a few of them are:

Burning Fossil Fuels
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Coal, oil, and natural gas, among other fossil fuels, have become an integral part of our lives. They are widely used in the production of electricity and transportation. Carbon dioxide which is one of the main greenhouse gases is released when these fossil fuels are burned. The use of fossil fuels has increased as the world’s population has grown. As a result, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released into the environment has increased.


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Deforestation refers to the cutting down of trees. Trees and plants have the tendency to treat carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, present in the environment. The plants and trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and help balance the overall temperature of the earth.

Due to deforestation, large portions of land covered with trees have been cut down and thus increasing the level of greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide level on earth. This leads to global warming and an overall rise in the earth’s temperature. Deforestation alone contributes a major portion to global warming. 

Increase In Population

There has been a massive growth in population during the previous few decades. As a result, there is now more demand for food, clothing, and shelter which has led the cities and towns to have sprouted new industry hubs, which releases hazardous pollutants into the atmosphere, thereby increasing the global greenhouse gas emissions. It also means more use of fossil fuels which further aggravates the problem.


Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas found in fertilizers that contributes to the greenhouse effect, which causes global warming. Fertilizers used for the growth of crops contribute to many types of pollution on earth. Fertilizers have a big impact on the dynamic growth of greenhouse effect as well.

Industrial Waste And Landfills

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Cement manufacture, fertilizer production, coal mining activities, and oil extraction all emit damaging greenhouse gases. In addition, garbage-filled landfills emit carbon dioxide and methane gas, which contribute significantly to the greenhouse effect.

Factors Determining The Effect of Gases

How much

The amount of a particular gas in the environment is known as concentration. Higher concentrations in the atmosphere result from increased powerful greenhouse gas emissions. The concentration of gases released into the air is measured with milligram per litre.

How Long

Each of these gases has a varying period of time in the atmosphere, ranging from a few years to thousands of years. Because all of these gases stay in the atmosphere long enough to get well mixed, the amount measured in the atmosphere is nearly the same all around the world, independent of the source of emissions.

How Strongly

Some gases are more successful at warming the earth and “thickening the Earth’s blanket” than others. A Global Warming Potential (GWP) has been computed for each greenhouse gas to represent how long it stays in the atmosphere and how well it absorbs energy. More energy is absorbed per pound by gases with a higher GWP than by gases with a lower GWP.

What Is Greenhouse Effect Inducing In The Environment

Although there has been many type of chemicals getting released into the enviornment and vause millions of problems. These chemicals also contribute toward the growth of greenhouse effect. What if greenhouse effect inducing in the enviornment that has led to countless natural disaster and threatened future.

What Is Greenhouse Effect Contributing Towards Global Warming

The phenomenon of the overall rise in the temperature of Earth is known as Global warming. It is basically the process of the Earth’s atmosphere’s average temperature gradually rising. The growing volumes of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane emitted by the burning of fossil fuels, as well as emissions from vehicles, factories, and other human activities, are the primary source of this environmental issue.

What Is Greenhouse Effect Contributing Towards Depletion of Ozone Layer

The ozone layer shields the earth from the sun’s deadly UV rays which are harmful to human health. It can be found in the upper atmosphere i.e. stratosphere’s higher reaches and increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and other thermal radiations emitted are leading to its depletion. The ozone layer’s depletion allows harmful UV radiation to reach the earth’s surface. These are harmful because they can cause causing skin and eye cancer and they are also harmful to the plants as they might hamper their growth and productivity and might radically alter the climate.

What Is Greenhouse Effect Contributing Towards Smog And Air Pollution

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The mixture of smoke and fog creates smog. It can be caused by both natural and man-made factors. The smoke let out by factories, burning of fossil fuels, or emission by cars, when blends with fog present in the air, takes the form of a hazardous compound called smog. Not only is smog very commonly created in our daily life but is also very dangerous to be inhaled. Smog is primarily caused by the greenhouse gases like Nitrous oxide, being released into the air combines with fog.

Acidification Of Water Bodies

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Most of the world’s water bodies have become acidic as the total amount of greenhouse gases in the air has increased. Acid rain is formed when atmospheric gases combine with rainwater. It is very dangerous as it is even causing the erosion of historical monuments like the Taj Mahal.

Not only is acid rain dangerous to architecture but has many adverse effects to humans and other organisms on earth when exposed to it.

Melting Of Glacial Masses

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The rising temperature is forcing the glaciers to melt especially in the polar regions which is giving rise to increasing in sea levels and causing floods. It is also affecting the animals and birds present there.

Impact On Agriculture And Livestock

In many places of the world, global warming has already changed the duration of the growing season. Changes in temperature and season have an impact on the spread of insects, invasive weeds, and illnesses that can harm crops. The same thing is happening with livestock: climatic changes are harming major animals in a variety of ways, including reproduction, metabolism, and disease transmission.

What Is Greenhouse Effect Contributing Towards Climate Change

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Ocean covers 70% of the earth’s surface. Due to global warming, the earth’s temperature rises up significantly and evaporates the icebergs and ocean at a higher rate than usual. This leads to floods, drought, dynamic weather conditions. This leads to loss of property, life, and many more damages. Global warming caused by the greenhouse effect can cause many such problems on earth.

What Is Greenhouse Effect Doing To Humans

What Is Greenhouse Effect Role In Food Availability

According to United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the changes in the climate system are raising serious doubts about food availability. In its most recent biennial report on the state of world food and agriculture, the FAO warns that a drop in agricultural production will result in food shortages, affecting Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia the most severely.

What Is Greenhouse Effect Role In Diseases And Pandemics

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In addition to the difficulties caused directly by pollution like breathing problems and damage to the lungs, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that global warming and climate changes would lead to the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria, cholera, and dengue fever too far more parts of the globe and might even cause a pandemic. Extreme heat, on the other hand, will exacerbate cardiovascular and respiratory disorders.

Steps Taken To Reduce Global Warming

Many intergovernmental panels on climate change and global warming caused by greenhouse gases were held to combat them. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Progress (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit, was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 3 to 14, 1992, to reconcile global economic development with environmental protection also known as sustainable development. With 117 heads of state and delegates from 178 countries in attendance, the Earth Summit was the largest meeting of world leaders in 1992. Most of the world’s governments formally committed themselves to pursue economic development in methods that respect the Earth’s environment and nonrenewable resources through treaties and other protocols signed at the summit.

The following are the major agreements reached the Earth Summit.

The Convention on Biological Diversity is a legally binding agreement that requires countries to inventory their flora and wild animals, as well as safeguard endangered species.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), also known as the Global Warming Convention, is a legally binding treaty that requires countries to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other “greenhouse” gases that are thought to be responsible for global warming; however, the treaty did not set binding emission reduction targets.

Such goals were eventually defined in a UNFCCC modification, the Kyoto Protocol (1997), which was later superseded by the Paris Climate Agreement (2015). The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development established 27 broad, nonbinding principles for ecologically sustainable development.

Agenda 21 offered global initiatives for environmental cleanup and development that is environmentally sound. The main aim is sustainable development i.e. using resources efficiently and in a proper manner so as development can be achieved without hampering the needs of future generations. 

Prevention At The Local level

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Most people don’t know the answer to important questions like, what is greenhouse effect, what its consequences so the first thing we need to do is to educate people and teach them about, what is greenhouse effect and what will happen to our planet if it persists. There are numerous minor and large adjustments we can make in our lives to help avert global warming and rescue our planet. Some of them are:

  • Putting an end to all sorts of deforestation. Since trees help in balancing the level of Carbon dioxide, it is important to understand that trees are an essential resource for survival. 
  • Decrease energy use in all areas as the more the energy consumed, the more carbon dioxide is created because of the burning of fossil fuels. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rapidly grow as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels, contributing to global warming. Lowering carbon footprint due to burning of fossil fuels.
  • Shifting to renewable sources of energy like solar energy, wind energy, and tidal energy and replacing all your ordinary bulbs with LED lights would help in reducing the use of energy by a huge amount.
  • Following the principle of 3Rs i.e. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and avoiding traveling through cars would help in the reduction of the greenhouse effect. Instead, we can do carpooling or use cycles.
  • Factory emissions and other industrial processes produce hazardous gases into the atmosphere which should be limited. Installation of air filters in chimneys, for example, should be made mandatory.

What Is Greenhouse Effect In US’s Scenario

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Gross greenhouse gas emissions in the United States have increased by 2% since 1990. Emissions fluctuate from year to year due to changes in the economy, fuel prices, and other variables. In comparison to 2018, the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2019. The decrease was mostly due to a reduction in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, which was due to a number of factors, including a reduction in overall energy use and a steady transition away from coal and toward less carbon-intensive natural gas and renewables.

Greenhouse Effect Over the Years

The United States produced 6.6 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2019. U.S. was among the countries with the greatest GHG emissions per person, and only behind China.

Goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions have been established. All Alliance members commit to pursuing policies that promote the Paris Agreement’s targets — at least a 26-28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2025 — but several are aiming for significantly more reductions. For example, California has set a statewide goal of carbon neutrality by 2045. New Mexico set a statewide objective of lowering GHG emissions by 45 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

What Is Greenhouse Effect In India’s Scenario

Despite being one of the first countries to sign the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, India is the world’s third greatest producer of greenhouse emissions, after only China and the United States. Although per capita emissions continue to be lower than the global average, coal power stations, rice fields, and cattle are important contributors to steeply growing emissions levels. By 2030, India has committed to reducing its economy’s carbon intensity by 33-35 percent compared to 2005. The government of India has taken few measures to reduce the effect of greenhouse gases and fight Global warming and Climate change. 

National Action Plan To Climate Change, launched by the Indian Government in 2008 executed eight missions nationwide to preserve the environment.

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Looking Towards The Future

While India has taken appropriate steps to reduce its carbon-intensive economy, several recent policy measures targeted at stimulating the economy are expected to result in higher carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions have been addressed in a systematic manner across all industrial sectors.

Clean energy resources can be expanded through technological innovation, research, green employment creation, clean energy production, the introduction of e-mobility, and the acceptance of coal-phase-out policies. People are needed to be educated about what is the greenhouse effect is and its consequences. School curriculums should include topics like what is the greenhouse effect is and ways to overcome it.

Global warming is a global problem, and countries should not be self-centred in their use of natural resources. The international community such set up more intergovernmental panels on climate changes and global warming and should step up and find a long-term solution to the challenge of global warming so that future generations inherit a healthy planet.

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