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Greenhouse effect

To understand global warming and climate change, it is necessary to start by defining the greenhouse effect.

The greenhouse effect is a phenomenon in which heat radiation from the surface of the planet is absorbed by gases in the atmosphere, and is emitted back in all directions.

Specifically, sunlight that is absorbed by the earth’s surface returns to the atmosphere as heat. There, greenhouse gases (GHGs) retain some of this heat; the rest escapes into space. It is worth mentioning that the more greenhouse gases, the more heat is retained.

Because of this operation of allowing the passage of light and keep the heat, as the walls of a greenhouse, is that it takes that name. The greenhouse effect is what makes life on Earth possible.

Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse gases are the most efficient at absorbing heat, such as carbon dioxide (CO2). However, an increase in these is harmful to the planet and all life on it.

Global Warming

Since CO2 is the gas that has increased most in emissions since the industrial revolution, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels caused by human activity, global warming is produced: an increase in the temperature of the atmosphere and the oceans.

Climate Change

For its part, climate change is the set of climatic alterations. That is, it is a significant and lasting change in the distribution of weather patterns. It can be explained locally or globally.

Some clarifications

Climate change can be due to natural or human causes. In the first case, the variations can be due to changes in the energy received from the sun, to volcanic eruptions, among others.

In the second case, by the influence of human beings. It includes the already mentioned emission of CO2 and also the alteration of large extensions of land (deforestation).

It is important to mention that without human interference, carbon from fossil fuels would be released into the atmosphere but slowly, due to volcanic activity. However, the process is accelerated by the burning of carbon, oil and natural gas.


This accelerated increase in temperature affects the cycles that take place on the planet. Even small variations cause major changes.

For example, the accumulation of carbon dioxide that causes the acidification of the oceans, affects biodiversity (growth, reproduction and other phenomena). In fact, a recent study reported that less oxygen in the seas would lead to less biodiversity.

Also, the increase in sea level, due to the thawing and reduction of icy masses threatens the coastal areas.

International agreements

Several meetings are being held at the international level, in order to establish agreements and commitments of countries to reduce CO2 emissions.

It is the main international agreement that aims to act for the climate. In particular, to limit the increase in global temperature, and to address climate change and its consequences.

The aim, specifically, is to reduce CO2 emissions and to unify and maintain efforts to keep temperature increases below 2°. Finally, in September this year will be the Summit on Climate Change.