Written by on March 7, 2023

A twitter post claiming that the greenhouse effect is not applicable to our planet is false.

“I am a physicist and show me the test which proves how much the temp will go up with raising CO2 please. Greenhouse effect is not applicable to our planet,” states the claim.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), compared greenhouse gasses to a “blanket wrapped around the earth, keeping the planet toastier than it would be without them”. 

Greenhouse gasses keep heat closer to the surface of the earth by absorbing solar energy instead of allowing it to escape into space. This is what is referred to as the greenhouse effect.

The levels of carbon dioxide, which is the most dangerous and prevalent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere are at the highest levels ever recorded.

Source: The Keeling Curve

Greenhouse effect dates back to the 19th century, where Joseph Fourier, a French Mathematician in the year 1824 calculated and asserted that if earth had no atmosphere, then it would be much colder.

Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist was the first individual to link a rise in CO2 as a result of burning fossil fuels to a warming effect in the year 1896. A century later, on 23rd June 1988, James Hansen, an American Climate scientist confirmed to the congress that the greenhouse effect had been detected and the climate was indeed changing.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, there was a 43% increase in the greenhouse gasses net emissions from human activities from 1990-2015. Over this period, there was 51% increase in CO2 emissions, which makes up three quarters of the total emissions.

Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Gas, 1990–2015

Source: EPA

The UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2021 documents that if the greenhouse gasses emissions are not halved by 2030, then limiting global warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century compared to the pre-industrial levels will be very difficult.

We looked into this claim stating that the greenhouse effect is not applicable to our planet and found it to be false.

This fact-check was produced by Sky 106.1 FM with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance network.

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