Methane vs. CO2 Global Warming Potential
Methane and Carbon Dioxide - CH4 and CO2
72 times. Methane has a global warming potential 72 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. Compared with carbon dioxide, methane has a high global warming potential of 72 (calculated over a period of 20 years) or 25 (for a time period of 100 years). (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - IPCC - "Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis - Summary for Policymakers," Fourth Assessment Report -FAR, Working Group 1, Chapter 2, IPCC Secretariat, Geneva, Switzerland, February 2007, p. 212)
64 times. Number of times more potent that methane is compared to carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas. “For the same volume, methane is 64 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide, and there is a lot of it.” Methane compared to carbon dioxide. (Ian Hoffman, Staff Writer, “Global warming could trigger methane release,” The Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, August 29, 2006 reporting findings in T. M. Hill, J. P. Kennett, D. L. Valentine, Z. Yang, C. M. Reddy, R. K. Nelson, R. J. Behl, C. Robert, and L. Beaufort, “Climatically driven emissions of hydrocarbons from marine sediments during deglaciation,” published online before print August 30, 2006, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0601304103 and published in print Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS September 12, 2006 vol. 103 no. 37 13570-13574 pp. 13570–13574)
40 times. Methane releases are 40 times more potent in terms of warming than CO2. “As catastrophic as all this is, [Kevin Schaefer [email@example.com], a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado] acknowledges his study underestimates what is likely to happen. The model does not measure methane releases, which are 40 times as potent in terms of warming as carbon. Methane could have a big impact on temperatures in the short term, he says. ‘There would be a lot of methane emissions. We're working on estimating those right now,’ he said. The model also does not include emissions from the large region of underwater permafrost. IPS previously reported that an estimated eight million tonnes of methane emissions are bubbling to the surface from the shallow East Siberian Arctic shelf every year. If just one percent of the Arctic undersea methane (also called methane hydrates) reaches the atmosphere, it could quadruple the amount of methane currently in the atmosphere, Vladimir Romanovsky of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks previously told IPS.” (Stephen Leahy, “Permafrost Melt Soon Irreversible Without Major Fossil Fuel Cuts,” IPS, Uxbridge, Canada, February 17, 2011 reporting findings in Kevin Schaefer, Tingjun Zhang, Lori Bruhwiler, Andrew P. Barrett, Amount and timing of permafrost carbon release in response to climate warming, Tellus B, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0889.2011.00527.x, article first published online on February 15, 2011)
30 times. Number of times more potent methane is than CO2 in terms of heat-trapping potential. “Methane is a greenhouse gas more than 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide.” How does methane compare to carbon dioxide? (“Methane Releases From Arctic Shelf May Be Much Larger and Faster Than Anticipated,” Press Release 10-036, National Science Foundation, March 4, 2010)
25 times. Methane GWP potency compared to carbon dioxide over a 100 year period.
“Methane is a relatively potent greenhouse gas. Compared with carbon
dioxide, it has a high global warming potential of 72 (calculated over a
period of 20 years) or 25 (for a time period of 100 years).
(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - IPCC - "Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis - Summary for Policymakers," Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group 1, Chapter 2, IPCC Secretariat, Geneva, Switzerland, February 2007, p. 212)
Methane Heat-Trapping Potential Compared to CO2
Video of Kirk R. Smith making the above PowerPoint presentation, Carbon on Steroids: The Untold Story of Methane, Climate, and Health, California Air Resources Board, Sacramento, California, November 10, 2008. How does methane compare to carbon dioxide?
Are policymakers failing to pay sufficient attention to the climate disruption risks of methane?
(1) Kirk R. Smith, PhD, Nobel
Laureate, "Carbon on Steroids, The Untold Story of Methane, Climate, and Health," PowerPoint presentation to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Sacramento, California, November 10, 2008, Slide 18. See video of presentation.
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