The whole world is trying to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions. A significant part of those emissions is caused by vehicle traffic. This means that the Riksdag, the government and its agencies have an interest in getting people to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
The greenhouse effect is named after the function of a greenhouse. The rays of the sun come in through the glass ceiling of the greenhouse and give off heat. Most of that heat then remains in the greenhouse, creating a suitable environment for the plants.
The same process occurs naturally at a larger scale as well. In that case, the earth is the plant and the atmosphere is the glass ceiling.
The problem arises when the greenhouse effect is unnaturally enhanced. This is what happens when we extract fossil fuels from the earth and burn them. One of the residues that form is carbon dioxide (the most important greenhouse gas).
The carbon dioxide rises and gets caught in the atmosphere, which makes the “glass ceiling” thicker, making it trap too much heat.
The rays of the sun (yellow arrows) pass through the atmosphere (grey line) and reach the earth. Much of the heat is absorbed (red dots) and the excess bounces off the earth’s surface and is reflected back out into space (red arrows).
The car releases emissions into the atmosphere, which makes it thicker. When the atmosphere gets thicker, some of the heat rays reflected back from the surface cannot get through. These rays instead bounce back towards the earth while emitting more heat. In other words, the earth is getting warmer than it otherwise would.
There are many potential consequences of a warmer climate. Some we can already see today, others we have thankfully not yet experienced.
Last updated 2017-09-08.