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Everything you need to know about the greenhouse effect

The observation is clear: it is warmer on Earth. Worse still, the phenomenon would not be about to stop. But what is causing global warming? Could the greenhouse effect be one of the causes? In this article, you will find a complete file on the greenhouse effect and the dramatic repercussions it has caused on the planet.

Definition: what is the greenhouse effect?

The greenhouse effect is a thermal phenomenon natural essential for life on Earth. And for good reason, it contributes to maintaining the average level of temperature on the surface of the planet. It thus intervenes in the energy exchanges between space, the Earth’s atmosphere and the Earth’s surface. In the absence of the greenhouse effect, the average temperature on the planet would be -18°C, instead of +15°C.

At present, specialists estimate that the rise in temperature linked to the greenhouse effect of human origin is of the order of +0.5°C. The projections of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change (IPCC) announce, moreover, an increase in temperature of the order of +2°C to +7°Cby the end of the century, depending on the scenario. It is worth emphasizing that a single degree is enough to cause a major change in the climate. Such a change may indeed have consequences irreversible on the whole environment.

polluting industries that emit greenhouse gases

The different greenhouse gases (GHG)

The main greenhouse gases include:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) : because of’human activity, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased significantly since the beginning of the industrial era. So well that today it is held responsible two-thirds of global warming;
  • Methane (CH4) : methane is the source of nearly 17% of the greenhouse effect linked to human activity. Note that the concentration of methane in the atmosphere has tripled since the beginning of the industrial era;
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O) : also called nitrous oxide, or more commonly, laughing gas, nitrous oxide comes mainly from the intensive agricultural exploitation of the soil. It alone is responsible for global warming to the tune of 6%;
  • Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) : this is one of the GHGs with the most dramatic impact. The reason ? Sulfur hexafluoride remains more than 3000 years in the air;
  • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) : they are used, among other things, in the production of aluminium, in refrigeration and air conditioning systems and in the manufacture of synthetic foams. PFC and HFC are synthetic gases, which are only responsible for a tiny part of the greenhouse effect. On the other hand, just like SF6, they remain in the atmosphere for a very long time. They take several hundreds or even thousands of years to disappear.
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What are the causes of the greenhouse effect?

Fossil fuels

the coalthe oil and the natural gas are an integral part of human activity. They are, in fact, used on a large scale to produceelectricity as well as to supply the various means of transportation. Once burned, the carbon contained in such fuels is released and fuses with the oxygen in the air to create the famous carbon dioxide. With the increase in population, the number of vehicles has also increased, resulting in an increase in air pollution. More vehicles on the road means more carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, and therefore an increase in the greenhouse effect.


Trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide and releaseoxygenthrough the process of photosynthesis. A process that all mammals on the planet, including humans, need to survive. Trees, when felled and then burned, release stored carbon, which is then converted to carbon dioxide. Deforestation thus leads to a significant amplification of the greenhouse effect.


L’nitrous oxide is one of the most used greenhouse gases in fertilizer. It contributes, unfortunately, to the increase of the thermal phenomenon which, by domino effect, amplifies global warming.

Industrial waste and landfills

The industries involved in production fertilizerof textilesor even, of construction materials produce harmful greenhouse gases. Just as, moreover, the extractive activities of coal and petroleum. It should be noted that landfills also produce carbon dioxide and methane, thus contributing to the increase in the greenhouse effect.

The consequences of the greenhouse effect on the planet

Natural phenomenon, amplified by man, the greenhouse effect is now held responsible for global warming. It has, in fact, the consequence of greatly disturbing the balance of temperatures on the earth’s surface, because of its amplification.

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The increase in temperatures is therefore one of the direct repercussions of the additional greenhouse effect. Climate disturbancesfrom the melting of the ice to therise in the level of oceans, destruction of fauna and flora, crop reduction…This is just a brief overview of the disastrous consequences of rising temperatures.

people protesting for the climate

What to do to fight against the greenhouse effect?

The answer is simple: opt for a more ecological and respectful of planet. Eat less meat, favor public transport over the car, prefer local and eco-responsible products… The actions to adopt to limit your carbon footprint, and thus fight against the greenhouse effect, are numerous and for the most part relatively easy to implement on a daily basis.

Take care of yourself and the planet;

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