Greenhouse Gases

Human activities release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that increase greenhouse effect and contribute to climate change.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the principal anthropogenic greenhouse gas produced by human activities; its sources are burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas). Methane production occurs from human activities like coal mining, oil extraction and waste decomposition in landfills as well as digestive processes in livestock.

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the primary greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. It’s produced through burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas as well as industrial processes using these sources to make electricity. Carbon dioxide emissions also come from decomposing organic matter in the air or photosynthesis in plants.

As CO2 concentrations exceed 400 parts per million, their presence can alter climate by absorbing some of the sun’s energy. Since the Industrial Revolution began, atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased approximately 40%.

Atmospheric levels are the result of many different factors, with fossil fuel combustion as the major contributor. Burning these fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide into the air which is then taken up by oceans, land ecosystems and marine organisms for absorption by living systems.

Studies indicate that CO2 concentration was lower during the last ice age 20,000 years ago; however, why this occurred remains an open question.

Human activity has greatly increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, pushing them up by 150% compared to levels found during the last ice age. This rise is primarily attributable to burning coal, oil and natural gas for energy purposes.

CO2 accumulation contributes not only to global warming, but it can be dangerously detrimental to human health as well. High CO2 concentration can cause headaches, dizziness and fatigue among others.

Researchers have also discovered that exposure to high levels of CO2 can have detrimental effects on one’s ability to think. More specifically, they’ve noted a decline in memory and problem-solving skills as a result.

Due to these effects, it is crucial for individuals to maintain low CO2 levels as much as possible. As well as having detrimental impacts on human health and structures alike, elevated levels of CO2 can also damage buildings and infrastructure.

Scientists utilized various measurements throughout the 20th century to monitor carbon dioxide in both the atmosphere and ecosystems. Using sophisticated instruments, scientists were able to gather data which enabled global models of how our earth absorbs and emits CO2. Furthermore, these instruments provided data which allowed emissions from different sources to be distinguished and tracked accordingly.


Methane is the second-most significant greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide. It is created when fossil fuels are burned or decomposed and released into the atmosphere; livestock farming practices; land use issues; or from decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills all produce methane emissions that enter our atmosphere.

NASA research indicates that methane emissions have increased at an exponential rate over the last decade, leading to an increase in global methane concentration and linked with climate change. This increase has been the highest seen since 1996.

Methane emissions come mainly from oil and gas extraction, agriculture (especially rice production), biomass burning for energy use and digestion of organic material found in landfills or wetlands as well as termite digestive processes.

One major source of natural methane comes from the decomposition of organic matter in wetlands, lagoons, and other shallow waters. When this process occurs without oxygen present, organic material breaks down and releases methane gas as waste products.

Methane emissions come from underground oil and gas reservoirs that have been exposed to high pressure and temperature over millions of years, and can release large volumes of methane during mining, transporting, or processing operations.

Super-emitters of methane gas emissions can be hard to spot due to water interfering with satellite infrared signals that detect these emissions. To help detect them more easily, the UN Environment Program is launching a project using satellite data as part of its efforts to monitor and alert polluters about leakage issues.

Reducing methane emissions can have many advantages: lower global temperatures, improve health in communities, reduce atmospheric ozone levels and produce cleaner energy sources.

Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, capable of dramatically altering global climate and damaging Earth’s ecosystems. To address global warming effectively and avoid catastrophes like ocean acidification, coastal flooding, and extreme heat waves – policy change is often the solution to avoid global warming catastrophes like ocean acidification, coastal flooding and extreme heat waves. Methane fees or taxes offer promising approaches, particularly if these draw on existing taxes in extractive industry and agriculture tax structures.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, better known by its nickname of laughing gas, is a colourless nonflammable gas with a slightly sweet smell and taste, ideal for various uses. With an extended half life in the environment and reduced toxicity when compared with other oxidizing gases.

Nitrous oxide emissions play an enormous role in global climate change. Each molecule of nitrous oxide has approximately 298 times more warming potential than carbon dioxide, making it one of the primary contributors to global warming.

Air pollutants come from various sources, including fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes (e.g. petroleum refining), land use/land management practices, forest/grassland residue burning operations and wastewater treatment facilities. Ozone depletion from these activities has significantly increased over the past decades and its concentrations continue to climb significantly.

Nitrous oxide emissions can be traced back to agricultural practices involving nitrogen-containing fertilizers, tilling, soil cultivation and methane emissions from landfills, swamps, rice paddies or cattle; each contributing to emissions.

Nitric oxide (NNO) is a potent oxidizer of organic compounds produced by bacteria found in soil. Soil nitrification and denitrification processes depend heavily on soil properties such as availability of nitrogen as well as weather factors like temperature and water content;

Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide concentrations have increased sharply over the years and according to WMO this trend is exacerbating global warming. Human activities are blamed for this rise and it has contributed to global temperature increases of about 0.5degC over this century.

Nitrous oxide (NOx) is an important greenhouse gas with an estimated global warming potential that is about 300 times that of carbon dioxide. Emitted sources range from burning coal and natural gas, applying synthetic fertilizers, managing manure or simply managing livestock waste.

Nitrous oxide is one of the primary contributors to ozone layer depletion, with atmospheric concentrations rapidly increasing over the past several decades. To protect and preserve our atmosphere’s protective shield, its concentration must be brought down. To combat further depletion of our ozone layer and maintain sustainable environments, reduction is vital.

Fluorinated Gases

Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide — known collectively as greenhouse gases — trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change, creating major issues over the last 150 years. Their concentration has steadily increased.

Burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation accounts for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions; this includes coal, oil and natural gas.

Fluorinated gases such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) are also notable sources of greenhouse gas emissions, having high global warming potentials (GWP).

HFCs can be found in refrigerators, air conditioners, aerosol cans, firefighting sprays and insulation foams. Furthermore, these gasses are released through chemical processes as well as during metals and semiconductor production.

PFCs and SF6 emissions come mainly from aluminum production and electronics manufacturing processes, contributing significantly to increased greenhouse gas levels in our atmosphere over time. They may remain there for many centuries or even millennia.

Fluorinated gases in Europe are regulated under Regulation (EU) No 517/2014, which prohibits putting products containing fluorinated gases onto the market and establishes emissions quotas. This regulation was first put in place in 2006 and has helped stabilize European emissions at 2010 levels.

Fluorinated gases continue to be the largest single source of emissions in Europe and a key driver of climate change; their influence can be up to 24,000 times greater than CO2.

Reducing F-gas emissions is one of the most effective strategies for fighting climate change, helping reduce air pollution, noise pollution and ozone depletion simultaneously.

Effective strategies for reducing F-gas emissions include policies, standards and regulations that govern their production, use and disposal throughout their life cycles. This may involve increasing energy efficiency through using low GWP alternatives or replacing or improving existing technologies while making sure end-of-life recycling is used when possible.