The Emissions Gap Continues to Widen (.PDF Download)

Nov. 22, 2021
A new report finds countries’ climate commitments are falling short of expectations.

Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere, greenhouse gases (GHGs) absorb and emit radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing what is known as a “greenhouse effect.” The culprits include—but aren’t limited to—carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and fluorinated gases like hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride.

The amount of CO2 emissions associated with all the activities of a person or other entity, carbon footprints tend to get a lot of attention, but there’s more to environmental sustainability than just CO2 reduction. And, each gas’s effect on climate change depends on the concentration or abundance of the gas; how long it stays in the atmosphere; and how strongly it impacts the atmosphere. Some gases are more effective than others at making the planet warmer and “thickening the Earth's blanket,” the EPA points out.

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