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Impact of GHGs on climate

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Several of the chemical elements that make up the atmosphere of the earth function as greenhouse gases. Some of the sunlight that touches the surface of the planet reflects back into space as infrared radiation (heat). Its infrared radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases, which trap the heat it contains in the atmosphere and cause global warming and climate change. These GHG effects are seen in many gases. Certain gases are created both naturally and by human activity. Some are entirely human-made, such as industrial gases [1].


The oil and gas supply/demand markets, geopolitics policies, technology, and investment choices have controlled the worldwide energy outlook. Over the last decade, the climate change crisis reshaped the theories and implied a major revision of the energy sector sources and consumption. Global warming is one of society’s most serious issues and threats, with short-term consequences. World energy leaders must consider this to create sustainable and clean energy sources that can meet human life demands and environmental expectations [2].

Types of GHGs

The most significant greenhouse gases produced and emitted by human activity (anthropogenic) are commonly included in assessments of greenhouse gas emissions are:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2),
  • Methane (CH4),
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O),
  • Industrial gases (Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Per-fluorocarbons (PFCs), Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).

Statistics of GHGs emissions

In the 1980s, CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels were equivalent in total to human derived, non-CO2 GHG emissions (20 Gt CO2-eq yr21 from each). Since 1990, total emissions of non-CO2 GHGs have decreased to 15 Gt CO2-equivalent/year. Since 2003, steady rises in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have outpaced those cuts. In 2008, nonCO2 greenhouse gas emissions contributed 15 Gt CO2-equivalent/ year, which was 30% of total human-related long-lived greenhouse gas (LLGHG) emissions [3].

Climate change global inequity

Greenhouse gases are deliberately emitted by countries to drive economic growth and enhance human well-being, which can cause localized environmental issues like city air pollution. However, the most damaging and long-lasting consequence of global climate change affects all biodiversity, including people, and is not constrained within the borders of emitting countries. The impacts of greenhouse gas emissions can be felt beyond a country's borders, and the impacts of climate change on countries are highly variable, creating the potential for some emitters to contribute more or less to the causes of climate change than is proportionate to their vulnerability to its effects. This inequity has been recognized in international climate negotiations, with commitments to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities," but operationalizing the principle has proved difficult due to disagreements over the extent of each other's responsibilities [4].

Global inequity in the responsibility for climate change and the burden of its impacts [4]

Net zero

During the last decade, many countries and companies announced their commitment to achieving Net Zero to solve the global climate change concern. In theory, the idea is straightforward: greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere are removed to make the overall net emissions theoretically zero. Since the oil and gas industry is responsible for a good percentage of emissions, oil and gas giant companies, and many oil and gas producing countries joined the Net Zero team for lower emissions and hopefully zero emissions by 2050 [5].

Energy, population increase, and the global warming

Since 1800, the worldwide population has increased from 1 billion to 8 billion in 2022[6]. The worldwide energy demand keeps growing with the increase of the population and the evolution of society’s needs and quality of life. Since 1900, petroleum has been the biggest energy source worldwide, and in the US, fossil fuels are considered the largest source of electricity generation. t the greenhouse gas emissions from hydrocarbons should be addressed as a serious issue (Figure 1 and 2). The petroleum engineering community raised an important call to manage methane and CO2 emissions associated with oil and gas exploration and exploitation for a cleaner and sustainable energy world [7].

Sources and sinks for greenhouse gases

The main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the US are:

  • Transportation which accounts for 27% of the greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. The transportation industry is the main source of emissions of greenhouse gases. The primary source of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions is the combustion of fossil fuels in our automobiles, trucks, ships, trains, and airplanes. Petroleum is the primary component of the more than 90% of fuel used for transportation, which generally consists of gasoline and diesel.
  • The second greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 is electricity production, which accounts for 25% of total emissions. Our use of fossil fuels, primarily coal and natural gas, accounts for about 60% of our electricity.
  • Industry (24 percent of 2020's greenhouse gas emissions). The industry’s greenhouse gas emissions are principally caused by the combustion of fossil fuels for energy.
  • Commercial and residential (13% of 2020 greenhouse gas emissions). Fossil fuels burned for heating, the usage of specific items that contain greenhouse gases, and waste management are the main causes of greenhouse gas emissions from enterprises and residences.
  • Agriculture (11% of 2020 greenhouse gas emissions). Rice production, agricultural soils, and livestock like cows all contribute to this sector's greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Land Usage and Forestry (13% of 2020 greenhouse gas emissions): Land areas can emit greenhouse gases either as a source or as a sink (by removing CO2 from the atmosphere). Since 1990, managed lands have absorbed more CO2 from the atmosphere in the United States than they have released[8].
Sources of U.S. Greenhouse gas emissions in 2019[9]
2018 U.S. methane emissions [10]


  1. Raúl, C., Macarena, N., Natalia, C. et al. 2018. Climate Change and the Impact of Greenhouse Gasses: CO2 and NO, Friends and Foes of Plant Oxidative Stress. Frontiers in Plant Science 9.
  2. IEA, 2022. World Energy Outlook
  3. U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA – Independent Statistics and Analysis. Geothermal energy and the environment – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Glenn , A., James, E., and Richard, A. 2016. Global mismatch between greenhouse gas emissions and the burden of climate change. Scientific Reports.
  5. IEA, 2021. Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector
  7. H. Kazemi, and T. L. Davis. Energy transition: a reservoir engineering perspective. DOI:10.3997/1365-2397.fb2021070
  8. Pete, S. and Peter, G. 2013. Climate change and sustainable food production. Conference on ‘Future food and health’. Symposium I: Sustainability and food security. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society : 21—28.