Underreported: The Other Greenhouse Gasses

Thursday, March 19, 2009

When we talk about greenhouses gases, a lot of the conversation usually focuses on capturing and reducing carbon dioxide. But what about all of the other greenhouse gases and how do they contribute to global warming? Andrew C. Revkin of the New York Times and Seth Fletcher, Senior Associate Editor of Popular Science introduce us to those lesser known greenhouse gases – and explains what they are, how you find them and what we can do about them. Plus, a look at the recent climate change conference held in Copenhagen.


Seth Fletcher and Andrew C. Revkin
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Comments [7]

Jane Davidson, MS Biotechnology from Englewood, NJ

Thanks. Why is there never any mention of the heavy fumes from clothes dryers pumping tons of toxic, noxious volatile organic compounds, solvents, fragrances, petrochemicals and coal tar derivatives into our atmosphere 24-7? Today's laundry detergents, fabric softeners and dryer strips are laden with these carbon compounds, major contributors to global warming. Why is there no awareness as to their deleterious effects. Also, what about all of the fragrance and air freshener products?

If the entire neighborhood is perfumed from one dryer load, isn't this overkill?

Why don't people realize that both the indoor and outdoor air are permeated with this volatile stuff?

Mar. 22 2009 07:59 AM
Alt from Qns from

Hi just wanted to correct your guests -- asthma inhalers no longer contain CFCs.

here's a NYTimes link:

Mar. 19 2009 01:57 PM

as far as I know, asthma inhalers now cannot contain CFC as of this year.

Mar. 19 2009 01:57 PM
Ken from Soho

OOPS --- It's:

CH4 + 2 O2 -> C02 + 2 H20

Mar. 19 2009 01:55 PM
Ken from Soho

You asked how much Co2 is produced when methane is broken down:

CH4 + 3 O2 -> C02 + 2 H20

Mar. 19 2009 01:47 PM

So why not use nuclear power? It doesn't produce CO2. I know that you have to deal with the waste. But, isn't better to have something that you can actually do something about instead of something that you can't which is C02. There are no carbon sequestration techniques available today.

Mar. 19 2009 01:42 PM

Aren't there more damaging gases? Methane and CO2 have one carbon atom. Is there that much more CO2 and methane? Or is it the combination of Carbon and Oxygen?

Typical Composition of Natural Gas
Methane CH4 70-90%
Ethane C2H6 0-20%
Propane C3H8
Butane C4H10
Carbon Dioxide CO2 0-8%
Oxygen O2 0-0.2%
Nitrogen N2 0-5%
Hydrogen sulphide H2S 0-5%
Rare gases A, He, Ne, Xe trace

Mar. 19 2009 01:39 PM

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