Which Gas Contributes To Global Warming

The increase in global temperatures over the past few decades has caused much debate among scientists, citizens, and environmental organizations alike. A major contributing factor to this warming trend is the emission of gases into the atmosphere; the most dominant being carbon dioxide, though other gases such as methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases are responsible for our planet’s temperature increase as well. In this op-ed, the contribution of these gases to global warming and the effect of their emission on our environment will be discussed.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is often considered the biggest greenhouse gas and therefore the primary cause for global warming. Such claims are not without grounds. CO2 emissions have increased steadily over the last few decades and accounted for 81% of the total ‘’carbon budget’’ emissions in 2018. This is due, in large part, to the burning of fossil fuels and other natural sources, such as deforestation. As more CO2 is released into the atmosphere, more heat is trapped, raising the global temperature significantly.

Methane (CH4) is another potent greenhouse gas with a powerful impact on global warming. While it is less abundant than CO2 in the atmosphere, it has a much more destructive effect, with 25 times more heat-trapping potential. Sources of methane production include wetlands, fossil fuel production, and agriculture. While only accounting for a 9% share of the global greenhouse gas ‘’carbon budget’’, emissions have risen consistently over the past few decades. This rise is attributed to increased demand for food, industrial activities, and other human activities.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is another major contributor to global warming; though its presence in the atmosphere is small, its effect is large, contributing 6% of total emissions in 2018 and trapping around 300 times more heat than CO2. Sources of production include agriculture, the burning of fossil fuels, and human organic waste. Just like other greenhouse gases, emission levels of nitrous oxide have increased steadily over the past few decades.

Finally, fluorinated gases are also responsible for global warming; these gases have particularly long atmospheric lifetime and, in some cases, possess up to 23,000 times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide alone. Fluorinated gases have been around for decades, mainly used in refrigeration and air-conditioning systems, but the increasing demand for cooling technology has led to an increase in emissions, accounting for about 2% of the global emissions in 2018 and growing.

As evidenced by the data, it is clear that the ongoing release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is causing a dangerous increase in global temperatures. Both citizens and governments must take urgent action in order to prevent further and irreparable damage to our environment. Laws should be implemented, as well as subsidies and other incentives, in order to promote the adoption of alternative technologies and the reduction of emissions.

Efforts must also be made to promote reforestation and to expand natural methods of carbon capture. Although difficult and likely to be met with opposition, these measures are vital in our fight against global warming and in safeguarding our planet for future generations.

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.

Leave a Comment