What Is The Main Gas Causing Global Warming

As the Earth’s atmosphere warms, debates on what the underlying cause or causes might be have been raging for decades. Certainly, the main culprit that has long been identified as the most significant driver of the alarming global temperature rise is the immense amount of CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere by human activity since the Industrial Revolution.

While some studies have suggested that other rising gases, like methane and ozone, may be contributing factors to global warming, most scientific research has clearly pointed out that the chief gas gripping our environment is indeed carbon dioxide. This is mainly because, when compared to other gases, CO2 traps more heat and stays in the atmosphere much longer than the others, thus permanently accumulating and altering the Earth’s climate.

Indeed, the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report reveals that CO2 accounted for over 80 percent of total global warming between 1951 and 2010. On further examination of the data, it became clear that, by far, the greatest source of carbon dioxide emissions are the burning of fossil fuels for energy generation – about 78 percent of CO2 emissions in total. Transportation, in the form of motor cars, ships and airplanes, is another significant contributor, accounting for roughly 14.5 percent in the same period.

In addition, land-use change and industrial manufacturing activities result in the emissions of further CO2, though to a much lesser degree. What’s more, livestock production has also been identified by some studies as a primary contributor to global warming due to the amount of gases emitted from the digestive systems of farm animals. But, compared to the energy sector, these degradation sources remain minor.

Steps should thus be taken by countries, at both domestic and international levels, to drastically reduce their CO2 emissions to tackle global warming. The Paris Agreement of 2015 is a prime example of this, making an unprecedented effort to slow down global temperature increase and put us back on track to meet the Paris target of no more than 1.5°C additional warming.

Various policies have been proposed to mitigate CO2 output, including the implementation of renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectric, solar and wind power, as well as the adoption of energy-efficiency regulations to reduce energy consumption and associated emissions. Furthermore, major advances must be made in transportation and manufacturing, mainly by promoting clean energy vehicles, phasing out diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles as well as implementing government or industry incentives for eco-friendly alternatives.

Ultimately, there is no avoiding the fact that greenhouse gases, and CO2 in particular, are the main consequence of human activity, and the main cause of global warming. Nevertheless, it is still possible to prevent the worst of the disheartening impacts of climate change by pushing forward the most potent solutions available to us and raising awareness of our current climate crisis.

Ernestine Warren is a passionate environmentalist, author, and advocate for the protection of the Earth's precious resources. She has written extensively on the causes and effects of global warming, providing accurate information to help educate people on how to combat this major global problem. With a background in science and biology, Ernestine has the tools to help develop solutions that meet everyone's needs while minimizing environmental damage. Her hope is that each person can do their part for the planet and make a real difference to help reduce climate change.

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