Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change
What is the Greenhouse Effect?
The Greenhouse Effect is a natural system in the Earth’s atmosphere. Greenhouse gases, such as Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide, absorb and re-radiate the Sun’s warmth maintaining the Earth’s surface temperature at a level to sustain life.
Since industrialisation, human activities such as burning fossil fuels for energy production and land clearing has contributed to an imbalance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which has led to a sharp increase in Earth’s surface temperature.
It is expected that only a 3 degree Celsius increase in warming will lead to more extreme climatic events such as drought, heat waves, bushfires, storms, floods and cyclones. Global warming is predicted to melt Polar ice caps which will result in sea levels rising and the inundation of low-lying coastal areas and islands.
What can we do?
There are some simple and practical steps that we can implement at home and work to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere.
Turn lights off when you leave a room
Turn appliances off at the power point when not in use
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs
Buy appliances with a good energy rating
Leave the car at home and walk or cycle when travelling short distances
Keep cooling/heating systems set at 26 degrees Celsius in summer and 20 degrees Celsius in winter
Install or replace existing ceiling insulation with a higher quality product
When purchasing a new car check its ‘green rating’
Not only can these tips reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced by your home and workplace but also can significantly reduce power bills!
For more energy-saving tips see the Sustainability Victoria fact sheets