Effects of Greenhouse Gases on the Environment
Sep 08, 2020

Effects of Greenhouse Gases on the Environment

Our planet Earth is the only known planet that supports life. It has plenty of resources and has other moderate factors that are suitable for the existence of life. The first existence of life on the Earth has dated back 3.5 billion years ago. Our planet has a well-balanced ecosystem that is dependent upon each other for survival. There are moderate temperatures, humidity, and favorable climate conditions that support life. All these factors are responsible for the stability of an ecosystem. But with the change in the lifestyle of the people due to the industrialization, the stability of the ecosystem is disturbed. We are witnessing unfavorable climate change, melting of glaciers, rise in the ocean water level, increase in global average temperature.

The greenhouse gases are also responsible for the benefit of the living organisms on the Earth up to some extent, as it protects the living organism by trapping the radiations emitted from the sun which supports the life of billions of species. But due to the rapid increase in human activity the level of greenhouse gases has drastically increased from the release of industries, vehicles, petroleum refineries, burning of coal and fossil fuels, etc. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has also recorded more than the suitable level. Today, Climate change is the term used by scientists to describe complicated variation with respect to the planet's weather and climate systems. Climate change not only holds the average rising global temperature but also initiating extreme weather conditions, endangering wildlife species and disturbing their habitat, rising ocean water level.

There are various Government bodies that monitor and track the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The United Nations body Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tracks records the latest climate change using the advanced technology, studies the impact, and implements the solution.

Major Greenhouse Gases:

Carbon dioxide - Carbon dioxide the major greenhouse gas responsible for about three-fourth of the emission. If it doesn’t combine with other compounds, it can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years.

Methane - Methane gas accounts for about 16% of all the greenhouse gas emissions. It is the main constituent of natural gas. The methane gas molecule can stay up to 12 years in the atmosphere which is very less compared to carbon dioxide gas but it is about 84 times more vigorous.

Nitrous Oxide - According to IPCC the nitrous oxide gas contributes about 6% in the greenhouse emission but is 264 times more harmful than carbon dioxide gas over 20 years and can long last up to a century in the atmosphere.

Other Industrial Gases -

Fluorine containing compounds gases such as hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride can stay in the atmosphere ranging from hundreds to thousands of years. They have a thousand times greater heat-trapping capacity than carbon dioxide and they contribute 2% of all the greenhouse gas emission.

Sources of Greenhouse Gases:

  • Carbon dioxide emissions mainly come from burning organic materials such as coal, oil, gas, wood, and solid waste in the different parts of the world.
  • The sources of methane emission include landfills, petroleum industries, and digestive tracts of the grazing animals.
  • Nitrous oxide is released by burning fuels and agriculture wastes along with fertilizer and manures.
  • Industrial gases are released mainly from the industries and their products like refrigerators, Air Conditioners, and other kinds of cooling systems.

How to reduce greenhouse gas emission:

Upon deep analysis, we find that every sector of the global economy that may be industrial, transportation, agricultural, manufacturing, food processing, power generators, space exploration, etc contribute to the greenhouse gas emission. We cannot entirely shut down all these sectors but we can eliminate the use of fossil fuels and substitute it with other non-polluting fuel/source. This will drastically cut greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere and will not impact climate change which is leading to disasters. China, the United States, and India are the major contributor of the global greenhouse gas emission.