The main

In the section " Person. Society. Nature" we are beginning to get acquainted with the main "pollutants" that affect the environment. We will talk about greenhouse gases.

The presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is the reason that part of the heat radiated by the Earth's surface remains in the surface air layers. The higher the concentration of greenhouse gases, the more the planet's surface overheats. For many millions of years, the content of gases that cause the greenhouse effect has been established at a value that allows maintaining thermal equilibrium.


Before mankind began to actively develop industry, the main sources of greenhouse gases were: evaporation from the surface of the world's oceans, volcanic activity and forest fires.


With the beginning of the industrial era, greenhouse gases began to enter the atmosphere during the burning of fossil fuels (carbon dioxide), during rice cultivation and oil production (methane), due to leaks of refrigerants and the use of aerosols (fluorocarbons), rocket launches (nitrogen oxides), the operation of automobile engines (ozone). In addition, human industrial activity has led to a reduction in the areas occupied by forests – the main natural sinks of carbon dioxide.

The list of greenhouse gases includes the following compounds:

  • Water vapor is the most common greenhouse gas. There is no data on the growth of its concentration in the atmosphere.
  • Carbon dioxide (carbon dioxide) (CO2) is the most important source of climate change, which can account for about 64% of global warming.

The main sources of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere are:

  • production, transportation, processing and consumption of fossil fuels (86%);
  • rainforest reduction and other biomass burning (12%);
  • industrial sources (2%), for example, cement production and carbon monoxide oxidation.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is the third most important greenhouse gas of the Kyoto Protocol. It accounts for about 6 % of global warming. It is released in the production and application of mineral fertilizers, in the chemical industry, in agriculture, etc.

Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) are hydrocarbon compounds in which fluorine partially replaces carbon. The main sources of emission of these gases are the production  of aluminum, electronics and solvents. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are hydrocarbon compounds in which halogens partially replace hydrogen.

Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is a greenhouse gas used as an electrical insulation material in the electric power industry. Emissions occur during its production and        use. It remains in the atmosphere for an extremely long time and is an active absorber of infrared radiation. Therefore, this compound, even with relatively small    emissions, has the potential to influence the climate for a long time in the future.