Benefits of Recycling.com is presenting this series of pages on global warming becaue we believe there is evidence to support it is real. Even so, we are open to be proven wrong, which is why there are pages on why it is not real. Fair is fair.
The truth is we just want people to be aware that human activities (as well as natural causes) have the possibility of creating adverse effects in the US, Antarctica, Greenland, and throughout the world.
Whether you believe global warming is real or not, we invite you to read what we have uncovered on the many pages of this site… and beyond. Remember, knowledge is power.
While the close attention of publicity is focused on the role of carbon dioxide in the global warming phenomenon, some experts warn that neglecting other greenhouse gases, such as methane, may end up in the significant and unpredictable consequences. The point is that methane is a potent greenhouse gas, which is about 20 times stronger than carbon dioxide in causing greenhouse effect.
Methane and Global Warming / Its Potential Value
Methane has a global warming potential value (GWP) of 25 (in 100 years timeframe estimate) comparatively to carbon dioxide, which has the value of 1.
Even in spite of the fact that there are far much more potent greenhouse gases: for example, hydrofluorocarbon with GWP of 14800 or sulfur hexafluoride with the value of 22800, methane is still the third largest contributor to the global warming after water vapors and carbon dioxide.
Statistically, the share of methane in greenhouse effect is about 4-9%, while carbon dioxide is responsible for 9-26% and water vapor can be blamed for 36-70% of this natural phenomenon.
Methane and Global Warming / Fossil Fuels
In addition to being a greenhouse gas itself, methane has another aspect of influencing global warming. Methane as the key component of natural gas is one of the most widely used fossil fuels.
Consequently, when methane is burned (for example for electricity production at the power plants), a certain amount of carbon dioxide is produced and released into the atmosphere. However, to be unbiased enough, it should be said that methane produces much less carbon dioxide then other types of fossil fuels.
That is why; methane is even sometimes referred to alternative types of fuels. When this gas (biofuel energy) is used instead of gasoline to power cars, it is considered to be more environmentally friendly, the use of which is associated with lesser amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere.
Methane and Global Warming / The Polar Regions
Today, experts in climate changes are mostly concerned with potential problems, which may arise, when huge amounts of methane, now trapped under the permafrost masses in Polar Regions of the Earth (e.g. Greenland and Antarctica), could some day be released under the influence of warming temperature.
Though the actual amounts of those methane deposits are unknown to scientists, the release of it may potential increase a concentration of methane in the air a couple of times in comparison to the present level. Some scientists even say that it was methane, which caused global catastrophes many millions years ago.
Methane and Global Warming / Conclusion
On the other hand, currently methane is supplied in large amounts into the atmosphere from animal agriculture. Livestock, primarily cows, release methane during the process of enteric fermentation or, in simple words, food digestion. Though the amount of methane released by each cow is miniscule, the cumulative effect is tremendous, considering the huge amount of livestock around the world.
In this regard, some sources even call humans to go vegetarian in order to eliminate livestock factor in the global warming progression. Other scientists say that transferring specific bacteria from kangaroo guts to cows may solve the “cow-produced methane” problem, because kangaroos do not produce any methane during digestion.
So whether it is naturally-occurring or livestock-produced methane, it is important to keep this greenhouse gas in mind. Though its contribution is still low, things can change suddenly, and like the Boy Scouts of America, it is best to be prepared…
Methane and Global Warming / Sources
For more information on Global Warming follow these links: