Climate Data

Is Carbon Dioxide the only greenhouse gas?

There are at least seven important greenhouse gases:

  1. Carbon dioxide (CO2), mainly from the burning of fossil fuels and agricultural activity
  2. Methane (CH4), mainly from animals and waste; leakage during fossil fuel extraction; and recently suspected melting of methane hydrates
  3. Nitrous oxide (N2O), mainly from agriculture
  4. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), mainly from leaking refrigerants
  5. Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), mainly from the electricity industry
  6. Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), mainly from aluminium production
  7. Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), mainly from production of silicon wafers, liquid crystal displays and silicon-based solar cells

The global warming potential of each may be expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-e) to be able to compare the various emissions with each other.

For example, the global-warming potential for methane is estimated between 25 and 83 (depending on the time period) and for nitrous oxide is 298 – emitting 1 million tonnes of CH4 and N2O respectively is equivalent to emitting 25 (or 83) and 298 million tonnes of CO2.’s%20a%20problem%3A%20it’s,more%20warming%20than%20carbon%20dioxide.

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