We’ve talked about the fact that greenhouse gases in excess have a negative impact on atmospheric temperature through their ability absorb infrared radiation, trap and hold excess heat in the atmosphere. This causes a warming of the earth.

The main greenhouse gases are:

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is released via transportation, fossil fuel combustion, coal and crude oil extraction/processing.


  • Methane (CH4) is released via animal agriculture, natural gas systems and landfills.
  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is released via cars, manufacturing and agricultural soil management.
  • Petroflurocarbons (PFCs) is released via aluminium production.
  • Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) is released via electrical transmission and magnesium production.

Earth’s atmosphere is made up of 21% Oxygen, 78% Nitrogen, 0.9% Argon and trace gases; of that 0.03% is Carbon Dioxide. CO2 is the predominant player when it comes to regulating temperature and it just so happens this is also the main greenhouse gas human activity creates hence all the conversation around reducing carbon, carbon tax and carbon pricing.

In this sense, it is best described by James Hansen (an American adjunct professor directing the Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions of the Earth Institute at Columbia University) ‘If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted…CO2 will need to be reduced…to at most 350ppm.’

Can we do it?