What Are Greenhouse Gases?

If you spend any amount of time paying attention to the news, the world at large, or the environment in particular, then one term you are going to eventually hear is that of ‘greenhouse gasses.’ If you are not already familiar with the concept, then you are probably going to wonder just what are greenhouse gasses exactly?

The term is very closely related to the theory of global warming. It states that as fossil fuels and mass industrialization release particular gasses and pollutants into the air, such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, they drift into the upper atmosphere. There. They turn into a sort of one-way layer, much like the windows of a car.

If you’ve ever had a car parked in direct sunlight on a summer day, then you know the sun’s energy comes in but does not get out, due to the insulation of the sealed-up car. This is the greenhouse effect.

On a planetary scale, greenhouse gasses trap the energy of the sun but do not let it out, theoretically causing global warming. The proposed impacts of this are more severe weather, increased drought, melting ice caps and glaciers, and rising sea levels.

Efforts are always underway to minimize the release of greenhouse gasses through things like consumer awareness, better fuel efficiency standards, and even electric vehicles. Alternative or green sources of renewable energy are also growing in use and demand, as greenhouse gasses do not just come from vehicles.

Alternatively, there are also efforts to increase the number of trees planted as well as preserve natural areas and forests, as trees are able to absorb a lot of greenhouse gasses and prevent them from rising up into the atmosphere.  It seems like there is a new law passed every day to prevent greenhouse gases.

CFCs were once a common greenhouse gas that destroyed the ozone layer over Antarctica, but strict international attention and regulation over industry largely reversed this.