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Greenhouse Gases
This graph shows the distribution of GHG in Earth's atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide is clearly the majority.
Diagram to help explain the process of global warming and how greenhouse gases create the "greenhouse effect"
The Greenhouse Effect
    The "greenhouse effect" is the heating of the Earth due to the presence of greenhouse gases.  It is named this way because of a similar effect produced by the glass panes of a greenhouse.  Shorter-wavelength solar radiation from the sun passes through Earth's atmosphere, then is absorbed by the surface of the Earth, causing it to warm.  Part of the absorbed energy is then reradiated back to the atmosphere as long wave infared radiation.  Little of this long wave radiation escapes back into space;   the radiation cannot pass through the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The greenhouse gases selectively transmit the infared waves, trapping some and allowing some to pass through into space. The greenhouse gases absorb these waves and reemits the waves downward, causing the lower atmosphere to warm.

TEN THINGS WE CAN DO TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

  1. Lobby for and support government initiatives to greatly expand public transit. Transportation is responsible for about 25% of our greenhouse gas pollution, the use of public transit can reduce this dramatically.
  2. Walk and bicycle more. Good for the environment, good for your health. Support and lobby for government initiatives that enhance walking and cycling.
  3. If you must drive, use fuel-efficient vehicles. And, lobby governments to implement significant mandatory fuel efficiency improvements, and incentives for the purchase of fuel efficient vehicles.
  4. Have your home audited to identify energy saving measures. A typical house produces 8 - 10 tonnes of CO2 a year from the gas, oil or electricity that are used to heat it. This energy use can typically be reduced dramatically. Even better, buy a smaller home. The average home is now twice the size of homes in the 1960s, yet families are smaller.
  5. Use efficient appliances. Old clothes washer uses twice the energy of newer efficient front-loaders. The same applies to fridges, dryers, dishwashers and water heaters. By switching to Energy Smart appliances and efficient lights, and installing programmable thermostats, you could save 4-5 tonnes of CO2 a year. And, use fluorescent instead of incandescent light bulbs
  6. Make sure things are really turned off. TV’s, computers, stereos and video game units all draw power, even when turned off. By attaching your electronic devices to power bars & turning them off when not in use, you’ll help reduce your impact on the environment.
  7. Support government incentives for the development of renewable energy.
  8. Support the protection of threatened forests and the use of ecosystem sensitive forestry practices. Bad forestry practices release large amounts of greenhouse gas pollution, good sustainable ecosystem based forestry practices can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect biodiversity.
  9. Buy locally grown foods; the average item on our plates travel 1,000s of kilometers away and the transportation, packaging and processing are all energy intensive. A 2005 study in Toronto found that locally produced food items at a local farmers’ market travelled an average of 101 km, equivalent imported items moved an average of 5364 km.
  10. Eat less meat: growing animals for meat is more energy and water intensive than growing grains and vegetables.
  11. Lobby for your Union, business, workplace to become ‘green’ by reducing their greenhouse pollution. For example, use video conferencing instead of flying, if you must fly buy carbon offsets so that the travel will be carbon neutral, when meals are catered insist on locally grown food, and have your buildings audited for energy use.