Greenhouse gases are a category of atmospheric gases that have the property of trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, preventing it from escaping into space. These gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other compounds.
The presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is a natural phenomenon that has allowed Earth to maintain an average temperature of about 15 degrees Celsius, a temperature that has made life as we know it possible. However, human activity has increased the concentration of these gases in the atmosphere to unprecedented levels, primarily through the use of fossil fuels (such as oil, gas, and coal) for energy production, deforestation, and intensive agriculture.
The excessive presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide, is considered the main cause of ongoing climate change. The increase in global temperature has significant repercussions on the environment and society, such as rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and threats to food and water security.