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What We Know and DON’T about the Greenhouse Gases by CityTech blogger Maria de Leons

What is a greenhouse gas?  An actual greenhouse is a glass building used to collect heat to grow plants. In other words then, the greenhouse effect is the ability of the Earth to capture energy reflected from the Earth’s surface. It’s an important phenomenon that helps to keep the temperature at the surface warm and balanced, which is suitable for all organisms. However, gases that trap heat in the environment are called greenhouse gases. The main gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases.


Greenhouse gases have a negative impact on our planet only when they are released into the atmosphere in concentrations higher than the naturally occurring amount. The more heat the atmosphere reflects back toward the surface, the warmer the Earth gets. Thus, this changes the global climate of the world, and as a result, increased global warming. On the Earth, ”Greenhouse gases from human activities are the most significant driver of observed climate change since the mid-20th century”. Based on Lisa Friedman, a writer at the NYTimes: “The Annual Greenhouse Gas Index also shows that the warming ability of global emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily driven by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activity, increased 40 percent between 1990 and 2016, a significant measure of man’s influence on the climate”.  Humans are the main cause of this issue, we are the ones who burn fossil fuels and clear the trees that absorb carbon dioxide. In fact, the sooner we understand how much damage we are doing to our planet, the sooner we can work together toward addressing climate change and a better future for all.

Photo Credit: Mikael Miettinen via Flickr, Licensed by CC

Comment on this article

ClimateYou moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (New York time) and can only accept comments written in English.

3 Responses

  1. Great topic to talk about. It would be great to highlight what can we do as a community to help the environment and reduce the dangerous part of these gases.

    1. Hi David. Could you elaborate a bit more on your comment please? It’s not a full post (for extra credit), so if you wanted to add to it, or enter another, longer comment to the same post, that would be noted as a full comment.

  2. This is a really important topic, and I’d love to see even more on the subject. It would be helpful for you to include more information on the mechanisms of GHGs and more on other anthropogenic sources of emissions.Thank you for taking the time to write on the subject!

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