Difference Between Global Warming and Greenhouse Effect

Global Warming vs Greenhouse Effect

Global warming and greenhouse gases are two concepts that have been topics of heated discussion among environmentalists and those who are trying to save our planet from their detrimental effects. While these two concepts are intricately related like cause and effect, there are subtle differences that need to be highlighted for a better understanding of the readers.

In the simplest of words, global warming takes place when the rays of Sun are trapped within the atmosphere of Earth because of emission of many greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. However, this explanation does not cover all the aspects and this is why we need to analyze the two terms closely. The fact of the matter is, greenhouse effect is not detrimental for us or the environment, and it is harmful only when it is in more than desirable amounts.

Greenhouse effect

Normally, the rays of sun coming down to earth are reflected back to outer space by the surface of the earth. Some of these reflected rays are trapped within the atmosphere surrounding earth by gases that make up earth’s atmosphere. This is known as greenhouse effect and is considered to be a natural and healthy phenomenon. The existence of this greenhouse effect is vital for maintaining life forms on earth. Had there been no greenhouse effect, earth would have become too cold to have any life.

Though greenhouse effect is vitally important for us, too much of it can be harmful for us. This is because an enhanced greenhouse effect means higher average temperatures of the surface of earth which is not good for our ecosystem. There is a very thin and delicate balance that needs to be maintained as neither the absence nor too much of greenhouse effect is good for life on earth.

Global warming

The average rise in temperature of earth’s surface over the last 50 years is termed as global warming. Now this global warming is a cumulative effect of many factors such as deforestation, pollution, burning of fossil fuels, and of course greenhouse effect that has been under the scrutiny of the entire world, especially the western world that has been blaming poor countries for higher emission levels of carbon dioxide and methane gases.

Global warming is not a natural phenomenon and has to do with the activities of mankind. This is why there have been so many conferences and summits between nations to come to terms with this problem. Industrialization process inevitably leads to global warming as to meet the growing energy demands of developing nations.

If we talk about differences between these two closely related concepts, it is clear that one leads to another though there are other many reasons for global warming. However, in comparison to other reasons, it is greenhouse effect that has hogged the limelight in recent years.


• While greenhouse effect pertains to increased concentration of gases within the atmosphere of earth, global warming is the average rise in temperature near the surface of the earth.

• Global warming is a slow and consistent increase in temperature in the last 10 years, whereas greenhouse effect is faster in comparison