Ozone depletion refers to the destruction of the ozone layer, the commonly used name for a part of the atmosphere about 20 to 30 kilometres above the earth. The ozone layer prevents the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation reaching Earth’s surface. Exposure to this radiation can cause skin cancer, eye damage and other health problems.
Ozone depletion is caused by, amongst other things, chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (known as CFCs and HCFCs, which are also powerful greenhouse gases) and halons. These chemicals destroy atmospheric ozone. Ozone depletion has been observed by scientists since the late 1970s and in many parts of the planet more ultraviolet radiation reaches Earth’s surface than in the past.
The greenhouse effect is a term that describes how natural gases in the earth’s atmosphere reduce the amount of heat escaping from the earth into the atmosphere. The more these gases are released into the atmosphere, the more the earth will heat up. These gases act like a blanket around the earth — they allow the sun’s rays in to warm the earth’s surface, but they also prevent much of the heat escaping. It is a bit like car windows on a sunny day — they allow the sun’s rays in to heat up the car, but prevent much of the heat escaping. That is why the inside of your car is warmer than the outside air on sunny days.
Increases in the earth’s temperature can occur naturally as a result of climatic fluctuations caused, for example, by solar cycles and changes in the sun’s radiation. Human activity such as burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) and land clearing, however, are increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These extra gases are like additional blankets around the earth. They allow the sun’s energy to reach the earth’s surface, but they prevent more heat from escaping. This means that the earth slowly heats up. This is called the enhanced greenhouse effect — it causes global warming and it is changing our climate.
To be proactive as a consumer, always confirm any installation, service or repair of your refrigeration or air conditioning systems is carried out by an authorised business and appropriately licensed technician.
Air conditioning, in your home or in your car, can cost you more than it needs to and potentially harm the environment.
Find out more about how you can save money, and the environment, in our free guides.
The tick identifies a business or individual as being authorised to install, service and repair fridges, freezers and air conditioners.
Without it they may be operating illegally, so always ask to see their licence before they begin their work.