The main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) are all briefly outlined and discussed below. In understanding and raising awareness of the main influencers of climate change, it can help us change the way we look and tackle the problems as a society :)
All of the gases mentioned above are known as 'greenhouse gases', essentially because similar to an actual greenhouse, they trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere. The excess amount of greenhouse gases we have began to produce since the industrial revolution mainly, has led to an increase in the Earth's temperature and global warming as we now know it.
1) Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas, and it is produced by the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and other human activities.
According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, carbon dioxide accounted for about 82% of total greenhouse gas emissions in 2018.
The main sources of carbon dioxide emissions are the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas, as well as cement production and land-use changes.
2) Methane is another important & impactful greenhouse gas. It is produced by the decomposition of organic matter, those of which are found in landfills and from livestock manure, and also from the production/distribution of natural gas for example.
According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, methane accounted for up to 15% of total emissions in 2018 which is crazy.
3) Nitrous oxide is a less common greenhouse gas, but it is extremely potent.
It is produced by the burning of fossil fuels, as well as the use of fertilisers and other chemicals. According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, nitrous oxide accounted for about 3% of total greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. The main sources of nitrous oxide emissions are the agriculture and industrial sectors.
The impacts of greenhouse gases on the Earth's climate can be significant and with climate change becoming more and more of an issue being highlighted daily, the issues can lead to the spread of disease, intense migration, crop failure, excess rain and flooding, increasingly worse storms, drought, sea level rise and various other issues depending on where in the globe you are situated.
To address the problem of greenhouse gases, it is important to reduce emissions and support the development and use of renewable energy sources. For example, Nuclear energy is the only Carbon Free source of energy in the world at the moment, however it is extremely expensive and the latest nuclear projects have all exceeded both budget and project timelines.