What are Greenhouse Gases?

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) in English is

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) in English is "Greenhouse Gas" (Image: ShutterStock)

Hello, today Naan will introduce you to an important concept in climate change: greenhouse gases. Do you know what greenhouse gases are? And why do they cause the greenhouse effect? Let's find out together with Naan!

What are Greenhouse Gases (GHG)?

Greenhouse gases (GHG) in English is "Greenhouse Gas," a group of substances that cause the greenhouse effect by absorbing and retaining heat from sunlight. When the Earth's surface temperature rises, these greenhouse gases help retain some of that heat, preventing it from escaping into the atmosphere and warming the Earth.

Main greenhouse gases include:

  1. Carbon dioxide (CO2): The most common greenhouse gas, mainly emitted from fossil fuel combustion activities such as coal, oil, and natural gas.
  2. Methane (CH4): A more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, but exists in smaller quantities. Emitted mainly from energy production, waste management, and agricultural activities.
  3. Nitrous Oxide (N2O): Mainly emitted from fossil fuel combustion and agricultural activities.
  4. HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons), PFCs (Perfluorocarbons), SF6 (Sulfur Hexafluoride): Types of Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (F-Gases) emitted primarily from industrial processes such as air conditioning, electronics manufacturing, and other products.
  5. Water Vapor (H2O): Although not an official greenhouse gas, water vapor in the atmosphere also plays a crucial role in the natural greenhouse effect.

Significance of Greenhouse Gases for the Earth

You can grow plants indoors, on balconies, or rooftops to create green, cool, and clean air spaces

You can grow plants indoors, on balconies, or rooftops to create green, cool, and clean air spaces (Image: ShutterStock)

Greenhouse gases play a crucial role in maintaining the Earth's temperature and supporting ecosystems. Without them, the average surface temperature of the Earth would be about 33°C (59°F) colder than it is now. However, the sudden increase in greenhouse gas levels, mainly due to human activities, has created significant issues for our planet. Here are some important factors related to greenhouse gases and the Earth:

  1. Greenhouse Effect: Greenhouse gases absorb and retain some of the energy from sunlight in the atmosphere. This helps increase the Earth's average temperature, making the planet warm and suitable for life.
  2. Climate Change: Increased greenhouse gas, especially CO2 from fossil fuel combustion, is the main cause of global climate change. Rising temperatures, changing weather patterns, and rising sea levels are typical consequences of climate change.
  3. Rising Sea Levels: The planet's warming leads to the melting of ice in areas such as the Arctic and Antarctic, raising sea levels and posing risks to coastal areas.
  4. Ecosystem Dynamics Changes: Climate change can affect ecosystems worldwide, from altering the migration patterns of animal species to significant impacts on biodiversity.
  5. Intensification of Extreme Weather Events: Climate change can enhance warnings of extreme weather events such as storms, droughts, and floods.
  6. Challenges for Water and Food Resources: Climate change can impact the distribution and availability of water and food resources, posing significant challenges to maintaining well-being and economic development.

Given these negative impacts, the international community and organizations are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote a transition to renewable energy sources to minimize the effects of climate change.

According to the European Union's Climate Change Service (EU - C3S) report, the global greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 were approximately 53.5 billion tons of CO2 equivalent. According to the report from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam's greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 were about 342 million tons of CO2 equivalent. The sectors with the highest greenhouse gas emissions in Vietnam are energy, agriculture, industrial processes, and land use.

What Can Be Done to Minimize Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

So what should we do to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and protect the Earth? Some simple ways you can apply in daily life include saving energy, using environmentally friendly transportation, recycling and reducing waste, planting greenery, supporting certified eco-friendly products and services, and more.

You can grow plants indoors, on balconies, or rooftops to create green, cool, and clean air spaces

European Eco-Label, China Environmental Label, South Korea Carbon Footprint Label, and U.S. Energy Star Label (Image: Environmental Magazine)

You can see some specific examples below:

  1. Save Energy: You can replace regular light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs, turn off electronic devices when not in use, adjust air conditioning and heating temperatures reasonably, etc.
  2. Use Environmentally Friendly Transportation: You can walk, ride a bike, or use public transportation, electric vehicles, or car-sharing to reduce CO2 emissions from personal cars .
  3. Recycle and Reduce Waste: You can reuse items such as bottles, plastic bags, old clothes, etc., or take them to collection points for recycling. You should also limit the use of single-use products such as straws, plastic cups, bamboo chopsticks, etc.
  4. Plant Greenery: You can grow plants indoors, on balconies, or rooftops to create green, cool, and clean air spaces. You can also participate in volunteer tree planting activities in public areas or natural forests.
  5. Support Certified Eco-Friendly Products and Services: You can search for and purchase products and services with eco-labels, proving that they are produced and provided sustainably, without harming the environment and health.

Energy Saving Label and Energy Certification Label in VietnamEnergy Saving Label and Energy Certification Label in Vietnam

Energy Saving Label and Energy Certification Label in Vietnam (Image: Environmental Magazine)

We hope Naan's article has helped you understand more about greenhouse gases and how to minimize them. Let's act together to protect our green planet! Thank you for reading this article!