A Guide to Greenhouse Gases

We often hear about greenhouse gases and usually associate them with levels of Carbon Dioxide. But did you know that there are other greenhouse gases involved with global warming? Here is a quick breakdown.


CFC-12 is Dichlorodifluoromethane, a Chlorofluorocarbon that does not occur in nature and is entirely artificially produced. The more common name of this gas is Freon (Freon 12). Used extensively in refrigerators, air conditioners and other appliances as coolant, it was banned in 1995 because of its serious harm to the ozone layer. Older appliances may still contain this gas, so it is always important to contact your local hazardous waste disposal.


HCFC-22 is Chlorodifluoromethane, a hydrochlorofluorocarbon and another gas marketed as Freon (Freon-22). This gas is still being used in air conditioning systems today, although it has negative environmental impact. HCFC-22 is being phased out and once 2010 hits, manufacturers will no longer be able to use this gas. If you are buying a new air conditioner, look for one that is HCFC-22 free.


Ah, we finally come to a naturally occurring gas; one that has been the butt of many jokes. But one thing that isn’t funny, is the impact this gas has on environment is pretty bad. Not only does it carry an impact of its own, but it also breaks down into water and Carbon Dioxide. About 60 percent of methane released into the atmosphere is produced by human activity that includes forest clearing and even raising livestock (reducing the amount of beef you eat can be beneficial to the environment).


NF3 is Nitrogen trifluoride is a greenhouse gas that may have 17,000 times the impact for global warming as does Carbon Dioxide! To make things worse, NF3 does not have to be reported, and no studies have determined the level of this gas in the atmosphere. This makes reducing it an uphill battle. This gas is used in the manufacturing process for LCD and plasma screens. So if you are considering buying a new flat screen television or computer monitor, you might want to reconsider.

There are three more greenhouse gases to discuss, so check back.

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for Families.com since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT verizon.net or visit her personal blog http://homeinawoods.wordpress.com