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Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse Gases_071223A
[Greenhouse Gases_Wikipedia]


- Overview

The future of energy is rapidly changing. Some predict that by 2050, renewables will account for more than 90% of energy, while fossil fuels will account for less than 10%. 

Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, are crucial for reducing air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and expanding energy access. By 2025, renewables are expected to overtake coal as the world's largest source of electricity, supplying one-third of the world's electricity. 

Other new resources being researched or developed include: hydrogen, nuclear fusion, ocean thermal energy conversion, tidal and wave energy. 

Other ideas for changing the world's energy include: 

  • Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)
  • Artificial Photosynthesis
  • Wind Power Kites
  • Wave Power
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells
  • Advanced Battery Storage
  • Carbon Capture and Utilization
  • Smart Grids

High-rise buildings and construction materials could also become batteries, a cost-effective alternative for energy storage.


- Greenhouse Gases and the Greenhouse Effect

Greenhouse gases (also known as GHGs) are heat-trapping gases in the Earth's atmosphere. 

During the day, sunlight travels through the atmosphere, warming the Earth's surface. At night, the Earth's surface cools, releasing heat back into the air. But some of the heat is trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. That's why the Earth's average temperature remains at 14°C (57°F). 

These gases act like the glass walls of a greenhouse—hence the name greenhouse gases. Without this greenhouse effect, temperatures would drop to -18°C (-0.4°F); too cold to support life on Earth. 

But human activities are changing the Earth's natural greenhouse effect, and emissions of greenhouse gases have increased dramatically. Scientists agree that greenhouse gases are responsible for global warming and climate change. 

Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have emitted large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This number has increased dramatically over the past century as global warming has knock-on effects. Global temperatures have accelerated over the past 30 years and are now at their highest level on record.


- What are the Main Greenhouse Gases?


  • Carbon dioxide (CO2): Carbon dioxide is released through natural processes such as volcanic eruptions, plant respiration, and animal and human respiration. But since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by 50 percent due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and massive deforestation. Due to its abundance, carbon dioxide is a major contributor to climate change. 
  • Methane: Methane occurs naturally through decomposition. But human activities once again broke the natural balance. Cattle farming, landfills, rice farming, and traditional oil and gas production release large amounts of methane. 
  • Nitrous Oxides (NOx): Nitrous oxide is produced through the large-scale use of commercial and organic fertilizers, fossil fuel combustion, nitric acid production, and biomass combustion. 
  • Water vapor: Water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas. As Earth's atmosphere warms, water vapor increases, but unlike carbon dioxide, which can remain in Earth's atmosphere for centuries, water vapor persists for days.


[More to come ...]

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