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Greenhouse Basics

Natural Greenhouse Effect

A blanket of gases covers the Earth, which allows light energy from the sun to reach the Earth's surface, where it is converted to heat energy. Most of heat is re radiated towards space, but some is trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This is a natural effect, which keeps the Earth's temperatures at a level necessary to support life.

Enhanced Greenhouse Effect

Human activity particularly burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) and land clearing are increasing the concentrations of these gases that trap more heat and raise the Earth's surface temperatures. This is the enhanced greenhouse effect. Global warming is not the caused by the hole in the ozone layer.

Interesting Fact

Greenhouse gases (GHG) are emitted every time we use:
1 kilowatt hour (represented as one unit on your electricity bill) of electricity = 1kg of GHG
1 megajoule (MJ) of gas = 0.06 kg of GHG
1 litre petrol = 2.5 kg of GHG

On average, an Australian household produces 15 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, which is equivalent to filling 15 family homes. How many tonnes of greenhouse gases is your household emitting?

Information sourced from Australian Greenhouse Office.

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