What are greenhouse gasses (GHGs)?
Greenhouse gases (GHGs) absorb and trap heat in the atmosphere. This process, referred to as the greenhouse effect, causes the atmosphere and earth to warm.
Common greenhouse gases include: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), water vapor (H2O), ozone (O3), and fluorinated gases. Methane and nitrous oxide are the most powerful at absorbing heat.
Atmospheric GHGs accelerate climate change when they are highly concentrated, long-lasting, and have high potential for heat absorption.
Because GHGs vary in their properties, we often use the measure “carbon dioxide equivalent” (CO2e) to quantify across the range.
When we burn or combust fossil fuels to heat buildings and drive vehicles, or develop large-scale agricultural systems and chemical processes, we produce greenhouse gases that cause climate change.