Greenhouse effect: 4 practices to combat its intensification

The greenhouse effect has been aggravated by the emission of polluting gases into the atmosphere, increasing the global warming and its consequences over the last 50 years.

Understand how the phenomenon works, what are the causes, consequences and what actions to take to stop damage to the planet.

Also learn about iFood's sustainable initiatives in favor of the environment and in favor of reducing carbon footprint.

What is the greenhouse effect?

It is a natural process of heating which occurs on the Earth's surface because of the concentration of gases, the so-called greenhouse gases (GHG).

In this sense, the greenhouse effect is responsible for keeping the Earth warm by retaining the heat emitted by solar radiation.

Around 70% of solar radiation is retained in the atmosphere and the remainder is dissipated into space. This causes the Earth's temperature to remain constant.

Otherwise, the Earth's temperature would be very low, which would make the development of life, agriculture, biodiversity, etc. impossible.

In other words, the greenhouse effect in itself is not a problem – on the contrary, it is beneficial. The volume of excess greenhouse gas emissions is what unbalances the warming process of the Earth's surface.

Therefore, human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, have accelerated the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere, causing global warming.

What is the difference between the greenhouse effect and global warming?

The difference between the greenhouse effect and global warming is that the first is the phenomenon and the second the consequence of the change in that phenomenon.

Thus, global warming is the abnormal increase in the Earth's average temperature and is caused by human activities by emitting large volumes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Furthermore, global warming is also characterized by political, social, economic, ethical and scientific aspects.

An example of these political aspects in climate issues was the United States' position in relation to the Paris agreement, a pact signed by 200 countries in 2015 to contain severe climate change.

During Donald Trump's government (2017-2021), the USA had left the agreement, but the current president, Joe Biden, returned to the pact and made a commitment to zero GHG emissions by 2050.

How does the phenomenon occur?

The greenhouse effect occurs when part of solar radiation is absorbed and re-emitted in all directions of the atmosphere by greenhouse gases and clouds.

These gases – carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor – form a layer that prevents all sunlight from leaving the planet, maintaining the average temperature.

However, the excess emission of some of these gases that have been released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other forms is the problem.

Therefore, the high volume of greenhouse gases causes greater heat retention and, thus, an increase in temperature.

Greenhouse gases

The main greenhouse gases (GHG) are carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). These gases have the ability to retain and store heat.

Methane, which has a greater capacity to retain heat than carbon dioxide, is produced by the decomposition of organic matter from landfills, landfills and livestock farming.

Carbon dioxide, however, is the most abundant of them. The burning of fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas and coal, results in greater CO2 emissions.

Other greenhouse gases are water vapor, nitrous oxide (N2O), fluorinated gases, CFCs, and ozone (CO3).

What are its causes?

The main causes of greenhouse gas emissions are the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil, deforestation, livestock farming, industrial activities and urban solid waste that ends up in landfills.

Brazil was responsible for an increase of 9.5% in GHG emissions in 2020, a consequence of the deforestation of areas in the Amazon.

The data is from Greenhouse Gas Emission Estimation System (SEEG).

Consequences of the greenhouse effect

The consequences of the emission of these gases are several, but the main one is climate change, with an increase in global temperature.

iFood is committed to combating climate change.

In the last 50 years, global temperatures have increased by 1°C, according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Other consequences of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions are the process of desertification, loss of biodiversity, the melting of ice caps, fires, droughts and floods.

How to avoid the greenhouse effect?

Avoiding or reducing the emission of greenhouse gases means helping to contain global warming. Some attitudes can contribute to this.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), non-governmental organization environmental Protection, four measures help to stop global warming.

Attitudes to avoid the emission of greenhouse gases are:

  1. Produce less waste and avoid products with a lot of packaging and plastic items, since decomposition in landfills and landfills produces carbon dioxide and methane. In addition to giving preferences to establishments/brands that use sustainable packaging.
  2. To use public transport and alternative means, such as conventional and electric bikes and scooters (including electric motorcycles) instead of individual vehicles to reduce gas emissions, thus avoiding more pollution in cities;
  3. Consume local products, as they do not need to be transported long distances, avoiding greenhouse gas emissions;
  4. Reduce the use of air conditioning, as they release HFC gases (hydrofluorocarbons), more powerful than CO2.

How does iFood combat the greenhouse effect?

iFood combat the damage caused by the worsening of greenhouse gas emissions through various initiatives, in addition to investing in innovation and research.

One of these initiatives is the iFood Regenerates, an impact plan for the environment with action on two fronts. Firstly, end plastic pollution in delivery through partnerships and developing projects to increase the use of sustainable packaging by its partner restaurants.

Therefore, these partnerships are with companies that offer services with a lower environmental impact (such as renewable energy, disposal of cooking oil, use of less water, etc.). Additionally, there is action to drastically reduce the shipment of single-use plastic items (such as cutlery) in orders.

Furthermore, the second step is to become neutral in carbon emissions, encouraging and facilitating access for delivery partners to non-polluting modes, such as traditional and electric bicycles. This goal is already a reality at iFood, through iFood Pedal, electric motorcycle, drones and robots. In addition to actions to plant tree seedlings and purchase carbon credits.

In 2021, iFood signed a commitment with UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) and Oceana (Ocean Protection NGO). to reduce and eliminate the use of plastic in delivery, joining the campaign #PlasticFree.

Find out here why we must reduce waste and garbage production.

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