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The Greenhouse Effect

The Greenhouse Effect is a natural occurrence where a small range of gases in the atmosphere trap heat from the sun, keeping the temperature of the Earth in balance.

However human actions such as clear felling and the burning of fossil fuels are greatly increasing the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere, trapping more heat instead of letting it reflect out, and upsetting planetary equilibrium.

This warming of the Earth is a cause of changes to our climate and weather patterns (Climate Change).

Why should I take action?

  • As a coastal municipality Mosman is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, changes in rainfall patterns and increases in intense storm events and flooding.
  • Increased temperatures combined with changing weather patterns may see more severe droughts, heat waves and bushfires, which can impact our health, wellbeing and property.
  • Mosman has remnant bushland, seagrass and threatened species which add to the character and value of Mosman, and are vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
  • Climate change will have an impact on food security and the viability of coastal cities all around the world.

How can my actions affect the environment?

Our every day actions contribute to the GHG emitted into the atmosphere, from the car we drive, the food we eat and the goods we buy, to the lights and appliances we use at home.

By reducing your GHG emissions you can reduce your individual impact upon the environment. You can take some some simple steps to reduce your energy usage and save money.

Practical suggestions for everyone

Reducing Australia‘s greenhouse gas emissions is everyone's responsibility. Simple changes to everyday activities, office buildings and homes can greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.


  • Remember to switch off lights whenever you leave a room
  • Switch off outdoor lights when not in use or install motion sensors &/or timers
  • Install a separate light switch for each light fitting so that you only turn on the lights you need
  • Install energy efficient lights. LEDs reduce GHG emissions by 75%, saving you money and last up to 8 times longer

Heating and Cooling

  • Insulate the ceiling, walls and floors to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer
  • Choose a reverse cycle cooling/heating system that is more energy efficient, and set a timer to run the system only when needed. For more info:
  • Keep curtains or blinds closed in summer and open in winter at windows exposed to the sun
  • Landscape your garden to provide shade in summer and access to sunlight in winter using native endemics to your area
  • Use passive design where possible, for instance awnings prevent the sun directly contacting windows in summer. In winter you can have the awning rolled up to allow warmth in
  • When your hot water system needs replacing consider a quality heat pump, it can reduce your hot water energy needs by up to 70%. You can also consider solar hot water systems
  • To reduce heating and cooling loss through your windows use heavy lined curtains and pelmets. These can almost be as good as double glazing but at a much cheaper cost
  • Use draft stoppers on your doors
  • Seal any disused chimneys with recommended gap stoppers made especially for these spaces
  • If you already have good household insulation, a ceiling fan may be sufficient for your cooling needs in summer or warm indoor clothing in winter


  • Wash clothes in cold water – this generates less than 1/3 of a kg of GHG compared to up to 4kgs when washing in hot water
  • Dry clothes on the clothes line or rack instead of using a dryer and save up to 3kg of GHG
  • Only run the dishwasher and washing machine on a full load
  • Recycle your second fridge, or only switch it on when needed
  • Cook or reheat food in the microwave to reduce GHG emissions
  • When appliances need to be replaced, purchase energy and water efficient models
  • Switch off appliances such as the TV, DVD, CD player and computer when not in use. Using the standby mode can account for 10% of a households energy use, so switch appliances off at the power point to save more

Reducing Waste

  • Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (refuse single use plastic items like plastic bags, reduce the amount of packaging and only buy what you need, reuse containers, clothing and other materials, recycle what you can’t refuse, reduce and reuse – Council recycles products numbered 1-7)
  • Start a compost or worm farm using green waste and food scraps (end product will provide free, natural fertiliser for the garden) - check out Compost Revolution
  • Choose organic products, or grow your own organic food
  • Use a vegetable scrubbing brush to reduce peeling vegetables and fruits with edible skins


  • Exercise and save money whilst helping the environment. Leave the car at home – ride your bike, walk or catch public transport - Plan Your Trip
  • Car pool with family, friends and/or colleagues rather than driving alone
  • Reduce air travel, or offset your emissions through an accredited program
  • Don't idle the car when parked, switch the engine off for better air quality
  • When purchasing a new car choose an electric vehicle. For more info: Green Vehicle Guide


Last updated Wednesday 10 April 2024
Last updated Wednesday 10 April 2024