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Why Are Greenhouse Gases a Problem?

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What are Greenhouse Gases?

Are greenhouse gases a problem?

Greenhouse gases are gases that are capable of absorbing and emitting radiation. Examples of greenhouse gases include methane, water vapor, nitrous oxide, ozone, and carbon dioxide among others.

However, carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most potent of these gases. This is why it is mostly mentioned when talking about climate change.

Especially the impact of greenhouse gases on the environment. It constitutes about 81% of all greenhouse gases. 

Why Are Carbon Emissions Bad?

Carbon emissions are bad as they are harmful to the ecosystem. They are responsible for both global warming and climate change.

The introduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases has adverse effects on the environment as they are the cause of flooding, excessive heat, and other harsh climatic events. 

Are greenhouse gases a problem? Keep reading here!

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Carbon dioxide exists as a trace of gas in the earth’s atmosphere. Its concentration in the atmosphere varies naturally depending on seasons.

It also depends on other activities such as deforestation and fossil fuel combustion.

Industrialization in recent years has also increased the concentration of CO2 in the air by over 43%.

Human activities are responsible for about 29 billion tons of carbon dioxide. Annually most of this coming from the combustion of fossil fuel as a source of energy. 

The molecular structure makes it easy for the gas to emit absorb. They emit infrared radiation and this is the cause of global warming.

Carbon dioxide concentration increases as atmospheric temperature increases. 

Why Are Greenhouse Gases a Problem?

Why Carbon Emissions are a Big Problem

Human activities over the last 150 years have resulted in increased concentration of carbon dioxide to the highest levels in the past years.

The impact of this increase is immense and has seen the earth attain a new geographical level called the Anthropocene. 

The earlier there is less dependence on fossil fuel as a source of energy, the better it will be for our environment.

Switching to renewable sources of energy is the key to conserving and preserving the universe. 

How Greenhouse Gases Affect the Earth

The impact of greenhouse gases depends on three major factors;

  1. Duration of the Gas Presence: How long these gases stay and linger in the air is a major factor in what kind of effect they can have on the environment. The amount of these gases in the air is almost the same across the globe regardless of where the emission is coming from. 
  2. The concentration of the Gas: The concentration of these gases is measured in parts per billion or parts per trillion and has a significant effect on the earth. One part per million is equal to one drop of water mixed into about 13 gallons of liquid. 
  3. Varying Effect of the Gases: The impact of some of these gases is largely felt more than others. Their impact is measured by Global Warming Potential (GWP), the GWP shows how aggressive the gas absorbs energy and how long it stays in the air. Gases that have high GWP contribute more to global warming because they absorb more energy per pound compared to gases with lower GWP. 

Three Major Causes of Climate Change

  1. Agriculture: Agriculture is a source of greenhouse gas emissions. The rearing of animals, and planting of crops results in the release of different types of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. For instance, the rearing of cattle produces methane when the cattle pass gas and this is even 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The fertilizers used by farmers contain nitrous oxide and this is about 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. This is why limiting the consumption of dairy products and red meat. 
  2. Burning of Fossil fuel: The burning of fossil fuels is another major challenge that is causing a big problem as far as climate change is concerned. The burning of fuels such as gas and oil is the largest source of carbon dioxide in the airspace. 
  3. Deforestation: Deforestation is the process of cutting down trees. The cutting down of trees for agricultural, manufacturing, building construction, or grazing purposes contributes to climate change. The trees help in absorbing carbon dioxide and they are cut down the concentration of CO2 in the air increases.

Ensuring that we cut down on excessive fossil fuel burning and switching to renewable sources of energy will go a long way in reducing the effect of greenhouse gases on the environment and climate change. 

Are Greenhouse gases a problem? You found out here!