What is Green House Effect?

What is Green House Effect?

  • The greenhouse effect is a natural process that warms the Earth’s surface.
  • When the Sun’s energy reaches the Earth’s atmosphere, some of it is reflected back to space and the rest is absorbed and re-radiated by greenhouse gases.
  • The absorbed energy warms the atmosphere and the surface of the Earth. This process maintains the Earth’s temperature at around 33 degrees Celsius warmer than it would otherwise be, allowing life on Earth to exist.
  • This is what keeps the earth- land and seas- at a temperature range “comfortable” for us humans and the other organisms inhabiting the earth today. We thus live in a large “green house”.
  • Greenhouse gases include water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and some artificial chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).


What happens when the greenhouse gases increases?

  • Rise in Global Temperature: The rise in green house gases will increase the global temperature.
    • Over the last 100 years alone, the global temperature has risen by close to 2 degree. And if we do not reduce or stop these fuels and use alternate sources of energy (solar, wind and others), the global temperature will rise further.
  • Melting of Ice caps and Glaciers: The rise in temperature is already seen in the form of the melting of ice caps and glaciers, causing a rise in sea level.
  • Submergence of Islands: This can submerge small island countries such as Maldives and Mauritius.
  • Increase in natural disasters: It has also led to a change in the global climate, causing errant monsoons, cyclones, tsunamis, El Nino and so on, affecting life on earth and in the oceans (fish, algae, coral reefs).
  • Extinction of species: Temperature rise and climate change affect all species live- humans, animals, plants, fish, microbes. Climate change, plus relentless industrial farming and fishing are leading to the extinction of 1 million species from Mother Earth within decades.


Paris Agreement 2015

  • UNO brought countries across the world get together and in 2015 came up with what is called the Paris Agreement 2015 wherein they decided to make all efforts contain the temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees.
  • While 195 countries across the globe signed the Paris Agreement and promised to take steps towards it, while some countries such as Turkey, Syria, Iran and USA have not.

Steps to be taken:

  • To reduce, indeed replace carbon-based fuels, with other forms of energy generation (like solar power, wind power and others)that do not generate greenhouse gases.
  • To enhance all natural methods which absorb CO2 like forests and plants.
    • All varieties of plants absorb atmospheric CO2 and produce oxygen.
    • Forest also house over 200 million species of plants, animals and fungi. They are thus termed as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs);
    • Marine Protection Areas (MPAs) also restore and protect biodiversity, increase yields and enhance ecosystem protection and defense. They alone help us preserve over 17% of land realm and 10% of marine areas by 2020, and preserve millions of species from extinction.


In Focus: Global Deal for Nature

Five fundamental goals:

  1. Representation of all native ecosystem types and stages across their natural range of variation;
  2. Maintain viable populations of all native species in natural pattern of abundance and distribution – or “saving species”;
  3. Maintain ecological functions and ecosystem services;
  4. Maximize carbon sequestration by natural ecosystems and
  5. Address environmental change to maintain evolutionary processes and adapt to the impact of climate change.

These Five Goals of Global Deal for Nature have three Priority themes:

  • Theme 1: Protecting biodiversity
    • They have listed a total of 846 ecoregions across the world and given milestones on how to protect as much as 30% of them by the year 2030.
  • Theme 2: Mitigating climate changes by conserving carbon storehouses or climate stabilization areas (CSAs) and Other Effective area- based Conservation Measures (OECMs).
    • Theses involve saving about 18% of existing areas across the world (e.g., tundra, rainforest) as CSAs and about 37% of the areas as OECMs (indigenous peoples’ lands, such as in the Amazon Basin, Congo Basin, Northeast Asia, Continental India).
  • Theme 3: Reducing threats to ecosystems, and concerns reducing major threats (such as overfishing, wild life trade, laying new roads cutting across forest lands, and building major dams).

Note: The gross cost for the pact is estimated to be $ 100 billion per year.

Section : Environment & Ecology