Greenhouse gas emissions are those emissions which are responsible for the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere. The most common greenhouse gasses include water vapor, carbon dioxide and ozone, with some trace amounts of other gasses that make up the rest. Greenhouse gas emissions come from both man-made and natural sources.
A significant amount of attention has been placed on man-made sources of greenhouse gas emissions out of concern these emissions could have an effect on the global climate. In particular, carbon emissions have been targeted by some governments and environmental groups as a situation that needs improvement. Many of the eco-friendly, or green, products on the market, especially in the automobile and energy industries, are meant to help reduce the level of carbon emissions, which hopefully will help reduce the totality of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Of all the sources of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, the most common are coal plants and automobiles. The burning of fossil fuels, is nothing more than burning a form of carbon, which is an element necessary to all life. When that carbon is burned, it becomes a gas, combining with oxygen and becomes carbon dioxide, which is then put into the atmosphere. Coal plants, along with gasoline and diesel-powered automobiles, are particularly strong sources of the gas.
To help with these issues, many have taken up green initiatives and encourage others to “go green.” This may be as simple as an individual riding a bicycle or mass transportation to work or as complex as an entire organization changes the way it does something. A green business, for example, may install light tubes, geothermal climate control and take other measures to cut down on the use of fossil fuels for energy and everyday conveniences.
It should be noted that greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide and others, are not entirely destructive or bad. Carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth because it is used by plants, which then give off oxygen, something the animal life on the planet needs. Water vapor and ozone provide a protective layer and deflect some of the sun’s rays, especially many of the harmful ultraviolet rays. They key according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is finding an equilibrium.
Natural sources of greenhouse gas emissions include volcanoes, decaying matter, oceans and even natural digestive processes. These are basically considered too complex to be controlled by man, with the exception of livestock issues, which may help control some natural emissions, such as methane. However, this is a relatively small part of the total picture.