Climate change literacy
About Lesson

What origins the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere?

Greenhouse gases are responsible for climate change. Why? The atmosphere is like a blanket that surrounds our planet. When fuel fossils are burned, there is an emission of greenhouse gases that act as if they were thickening this blanket and causing more heat on the planet (see image 1).

Image 1 – © 2023 Zuzanna Gawron.
Inspired in: https://www.nps.gov/goga/learn/nature/climate-change-causes.htm

The most famous greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2), the most emitted gas (76%), followed by methane (CH4) (13%) (see Table 1). This is due to the use of fossil fuels (like coal, gas, and oil) in several sectors (see Image 2):

  • Energy (~73%): from using gasoline for driving a car, coal for heating a building, or both to use and create iron and steel in the industry.
  • Agriculture, Forestry, and Land use (~18%).
  • Industry (~5%).
  • Waste (~3%).

The majority of these fossil fuels are allocated to sectors that many of us may not have direct access to or influence over. Nevertheless, in the upcoming lessons, you will delve into actionable steps for both individuals and communities, as well as explore emerging best practices.Table 

Table 1 – Greenhouse gases and their major sources³

Greenhouse gasesSources % Emission in 2019
Carbon dioxide (CO2)Fossil fuel combustion and deforestation76
Methane (CH4)Biomass combustion and agricultural wastes13
Sulfur dioxide (SO2)Combustion of coal oil and diesel7
Nitrous oxide (N20)Fertilizer use3
Fluorinated gases (CFCs / HCFs)Refrigeration1