According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases (GHGs). The primary GHG is carbon dioxide (CO2). Increasing levels of CO2 and other GHGs are heating our planet. The resulting climate change, in addition to increasing temperatures, causes changes in weather patterns, impacting both humans and the natural environment.
Other common GHGs include:
- Fluorinated gases like perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are powerful greenhouse gases emitted from a variety of industrial processes. They are sometimes used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances like chlorofluorocarbons and halons.
- Nitrous oxide (N2O) is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, combustion of fossil fuels and solid wastes, as well as treatment of wastewater.
- Methane (CH4) is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas and oil. Methane emissions also result from livestock, other agricultural practices and from the decay of organic matter as in solid waste landfills.