Greenhouse Gases

greenhouse gasesWhat are they?
There four main greenhouse gases that are a concern for the public are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases. These gases pollute the environment and can impact the air that we breathe. The main concern about these greenhouse gases is that they destroy environment around us and can have a negative impact on our lives. These gases contribute to global warming. The Individual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator is used to calculate the amount of greenhouse gases you and your family emit into the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is the most abundant greenhouse gas. The primary way carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere is through the burning of fossil fuels, solid waste, trees and wood products, and certain chemical reactions. In nature, the carbon cycle makes it so that plants would remove the carbon dioxide that is naturally present in the atmosphere. However, the current production of carbon dioxide exceeds the amount that is removed, which causes an abundance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. There are a few ways to reduce the production of carbon dioxide they include the following: 
  • Improving energy efficiency 
  • Conserving energy by turning off lights and electronics
  • Reducing the amount you travel and traveling efficiently
  • Switching to more renewable fuel sources  
Methane
Methane is emitted into the atmosphere during the production and transportation of coal, natural gas and oil, as well as from farm animals, agriculture, and human waste. The bacteria that decompose the organic waste materials produce the methane that enters the atmosphere. There are a few ways to reduce the production of carbon dioxide they include:
  • Reducing leaks in equipment
  • Reducing the amount of methane that is used for energy
  • Managing farm animal manure and feeding strategies 
Nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxides are emitted during agricultural and industrial processes as well as the combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste. These gases are emitted by synthetic fertilizers and the burning of fuel. To reduce nitrous oxides we can:
  • Reduce the amount of nitrogen-based fertilizers used
  • Fertilize more efficiently
  • Reduce fuel consumption or switch fuels
  • Reduce the amount of exhaust that is produced  
Fluorinated gases
Fluorinated gases are a group of gases that contain fluorine, including hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride among other chemicals. They are emitted during a variety of industrial processes and commercial and household uses. These gases are sometimes used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and do not occur naturally.