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Causes of anthropogenic climate change – PART I

Anthropogenic climate change

“Anthropogenic” is a term that refers to something that has been caused or influenced by human activity. In relation to anthropogenic climate change, this means that the changes in the climate system are directly attributable to human actions, in particular the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere through human activities such as fossil fuel burning, deforestation and industrial processes.

The greenhouse effect

Greenhouse effect

The greenhouse effect is basically a natural and positive mechanism that regulates our climate by trapping heat in the atmosphere – this is what makes life on Earth possible in the first place, because the greenhouse effect ensures temperatures that are conducive to life. This happens through the sun’s rays, which are absorbed by the earth’s surface and warm it up. The heat is then emitted from the earth’s surface as infrared radiation. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) etc. prevent this heat radiation from escaping into space, but reflect it back to the earth’s surface. The earth’s surface is thus further warmed and, as a result, the average temperature on earth rises.

Global warming

While the natural greenhouse effect is crucial for maintaining moderate temperatures on Earth, human activity has drastically increased the concentration of these greenhouse gases. The accumulation of these gases intensifies the greenhouse effect and contributes to global warming. The main causes of greenhouse gas emissions are the burning of fossil fuels such as gas, oil and coal, industrial processes (hydrofluorocarbons, etc.), intensive agriculture (methane and nitrous oxide), deforestation (release of stored CO2), the transport sector (nitrogen oxides, methane, carbon dioxide, etc.), and many more.

Our contribution

We believe that through our work at pro local we can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases by supporting and promoting local value chains, taking into account seasonal conditions. Regional production and networking result in shorter distances and supply chains, which can prevent emissions in the transport and traffic sector.

For more information on the environmental impact of the transport sector, read Part II of this series.

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