What’s The Difference Between The Greenhouse Effect And Global Warming?

Despite being two terms increasingly used in conversations and news, understanding what is the difference between the greenhouse effect and global warming is very important and makes us rethink our entire lifestyle.

To begin with, global warming is a consequence of an unusual greenhouse effect and causes climate change.

The greenhouse effect is deregulated because of the large amount of gas emissions, such as CO2. The high concentration of greenhouse gases prevents the control of heat absorbed by the Earth. Therefore, we live in warmer and warmer years, with extreme temperatures and negative natural trails.

These climate changes happen because of all this heat that has remained on Earth. The impacts change the harvest and rain seasons and increase the intensity of natural phenomena.

To try to stop global warming, and consequently climate change, we need to reduce gas emissions. Therefore, some actions such as avoiding pollution, recycling, and preventing fires are important to lower the level of gas emissions.

But understanding what is the difference between the greenhouse effect and global warming, as well as the influences that the two phenomena can have on the world, is an urgent process of building environmental awareness.

Redda+ joins in this concern, being an organization that works in the creation of sustainable communities. In addition to developing actions thinking about Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in the Amazon region.

In this post, you will learn more about the difference between global warming and the greenhouse effect. In addition to the consequences for everyday life and how Redda+ has participated in this movement in favor of life.

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What does climate change mean?

Climate change, as the same says, means changes in the weather – regional and global. These changes are the result of human interference in nature and affect the entire ecosystem.

When we talk about climate change, we are dealing with the side effects caused, for example, by global warming and variations in solar radiation. While the variation of solar radiation is a natural reaction, global warming is linked to the way of life of human being.

Therefore, it is possible to say that climate change is related to the greenhouse effect and global warming. Understand the difference between global warming and the greenhouse effect in the topics below.

What is the greenhouse effect?

The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that maintains the ideal temperature for us to live on Earth. Without the greenhouse effect, the planet has to deal with temperatures below zero, something around -18ºC.

To give you an idea, the average temperature of the Earth is 15ºC. If this temperature were something constant, that is, without hotter or colder days, life on the planet could be completely different from what we are used to.

The control of heat on Earth happens through the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This layer of gases there allows the access of the sun’s rays. In addition, it controls the amount of heat absorbed by the surface and the amount returned to the space.

This absorbed heat should be enough to maintain a pleasant temperature on Earth. However, because of the high emissions of gases, this natural process has undergone alarming changes.

What we have been following is the imbalance of heat retention in the atmosphere. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), we are already concentrating greenhouse gases at higher levels than 3 million years ago. The large amount of gases such as CO2 are retaining much more heat than necessary. The consequence of this irregular absorption is global warming.

What is global warming?

Global warming is the term used to refer to the increase in temperature in the atmosphere and oceans. This increase in temperature is a consequence of the irregularity in the exchange of heat in the atmosphere, that is, the imbalance of the greenhouse effect. The irregularity happens due to the high level of concentration of polluting gases, also known as greenhouse gases.

It works something like this: heat enters and leaves the atmosphere in balanced amounts to support life on Earth. However, the concentration of polluting gases is blocking the output of this heat too much. It means that the heat keeps coming in, but it doesn’t get out in the proper amount.

Therefore, the global average temperature has been increasing and in 2020 the increase was about 1.2 degrees Celsius, while scientists claimed that the limit was 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030. And this increased limit is already dangerous.

What is the difference between the greenhouse effect and global warming

Global warming is the consequence of an unbalanced greenhouse effect. That is, global warming is the result of the imbalance in this heat transition produced in the greenhouse effect.

The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that takes care of the transition of heat in the atmosphere. In this phenomenon, the temperature on Earth is maintained at an ideal level for human living. In other words, a controlled and balanced greenhouse effect is not harmful.

Despite the difference in terms, the two are completely related. And in both, our greenhouse gas emissions are questioned. We urgently need to balance our gas emissions in order to reduce the concentration in the atmosphere that has prevented the release of heat.

What are the causes?

The imbalance occurs because of the high concentration of greenhouse gases. According to the Kyoto Protocol, greenhouse gases are:

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2);
  • Methane (CH4);
  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O);
  • Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6);
  • Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) and Perfluorocarbon (PFC).

Carbon dioxide (CO2) already represents about 60% of greenhouse gases and is produced from fires, agricultural activities, increased use of transport, pollution from industries, etc. Methane (CH4) is the second most concerning greenhouse gas and is present in the decomposition of organic waste (dumps), livestock production, etc.

The high concentration of gases in the atmosphere comes from the unlimited amount of emissions. This prevents part of the heat from being released into space, while the other part stays in the atmosphere. More heat in the atmosphere means higher temperatures on Earth.

What are the consequences?

In addition to understanding what is the difference between the greenhouse effect and global warming, it is necessary to know the consequences that this imbalance can cause.

Climate change is one of them. The destabilization of the climate alters the entire ecosystem of the planet, causing harmful impacts on the environment and humanity.

The consequences can already be followed in real life, all linked to the climate reaching its extremes. Some examples are:

  • the heat seasons breaking temperature records;
  • melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels;
  • storms and floods, in addition to water movements causing tsunamis;
  • hurricanes and tornadoes;
  • cities witness snow and blizzards for the first time;
  • crops damaged by climate change;
  • the irregularities of the seasons
greenhouse effect global warming and climate change
Reproduction: Unsplash

What to do to fight global warming?

To combat global warming, we need to lower the level of greenhouse gas emissions. As people, on a day-to-day basis, we can make more sustainable decisions, such as avoiding car use, recycling, saving energy and avoiding plastic. And even insert a day into your calendar without consuming meat.

Take the opportunity to encourage organizations concerned with neutralizing carbon emissions. For this, it is worth keeping an eye on the carbon footprint. In this way, you link your conscious consumption to good companies.

And, if possible, support organizations concerned with keeping the Amazon Rainforest alive. These initiatives have a positive impact not only on the environment but also on our lives. You can check more about this in our post What is the importance of the Amazon rainforest?

As companies, we need to find sustainable alternatives. Invest in renewable energy, in products that have a sustainable life path to the end. When necessary, carry out carbon credit purchases, to try to neutralize its use in processes. And close partnerships that make sense in the fight against global warming.

Finally, people and companies must unite in these possible and sustainable actions. It is changes in our daily life that makes a difference to stop global warming.

Understand how Redda+ and you can help preserve the Amazon

Now that you know what is the difference between the greenhouse effect and global warming, dealing with the consequences of unbridled development is a necessity. Whether through small actions or large projects, the important thing is to do your part. These are works designed for communities to understand the importance of environmental awareness. After all, thinking about nature is thinking about yourself.

Redda+ arises from these concerns between human beings and the environment. Therefore, it proposes to invest in projects that help in the construction of a society of sustainable conscience. REDD – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation – is one of REDDA’s guiding principles in projects applied to communities in the Amazon.

In Portel, Pará, Redda+ encourages sustainable growth, showing the possibilities of development integrated with the forest and self-sufficiency. Through these works, Redda+ also participates in carbon offsets. And it does its part to help fight global warming.

Click here and learn more about our work.

Learn more about What is REDD?

Photo: Diego Imai

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