Breaking down climate change in 15 minutes
We hear a lot about greenhouse gases, the main culprits of global warming and climate change. But have you ever stopped to think about what a greenhouse gas is at a molecular level? Why do they lead to temperature rise – and some more than others? Are they different than other gases, and if so, how? Once released, can they be re-captured?
Follow the first episode of the GLF Live mini-series of “climate crash courses”, 15-minute lessons on foundational climate change terms and topics we might have overlooked in our learnings.
The basics of greenhouse gasses
Paola Andrea Arias, the first Colombian woman to be selected as an author for an IPCC report, walks us through the basics of greenhouse gases to learn how they’re formed and why they’re bad for our atmosphere:
- Gas emissions are not only caused by human activities but by natural activities such as volcano eruptions. Fossil fuels store a huge amount of global-warming potential with regards to CO2 and so when humans burn/access these fossil fuels, they release a large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere.
- The greenhouse gas present in the atmosphere today is not a result of human activity from 1-2 yrs ago, but decades and even centuries ago. While Methane has a shorter lifespan in the atmosphere (decades), CO2 has a longer lifespan in the atmosphere – centuries!
- It is estimated that about 65% of the carbon in the air gets absorbed by the oceans.
- Capturing greenhouse gas hugely contribute to offsetting our emissions. Ecosystem conservation and soil respiration are also very important in capturing CO2.
- Many companies use greenwashing to keep doing what they want to do for profit-making and that is why the world is still in a critical state of global warming. We must spot and avoid greenwashing.