Global Warming Potentials

All greenhouse gases (GHGs) are not equal. In fact, each greenhouse gas has a unique atmospheric lifetime and heat-trapping potential.

The concept of a Global Warming Potential (GWP) has been developed to allow the comparison of the ability of each greenhouse gas to trap heat in the atmosphere relative to carbon dioxide (carbon dioxide CO2) over a specified time horizon. Often, greenhouse gas emissions are calculated in terms of how much CO2 would be required to produce a similar warming effect oven the chosen time horizon. This is called the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) value and is calculated by multiplying the amount of gas by its associated global warming potential (GWP).

Consistent with Decision 24/CP.19 the 100-year Global Warming Potentials (GWPs), provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Fourth Assessment Report (SAR) are required for inventory reporting under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). These global warming potential (GWPs) are also required for facility greenhouse gas reporting, under Section 46 (S.46) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, for data from 2004 - 2013.

Global warming potentials for greenhouse gases

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC Global Warming Potentials - 100-Year Time Horizon
Greenhouse GasFormulaSecond Assessment ReportFootnote[1]Fourth Assessment ReportFootnote[2]
Carbon dioxideCO211
MethaneCH42125
Nitrous oxideN2O310298
Sulphur hexafluorideSF623 90022 800
Nitrogen trifluorideNF3-17 200

Note: '-' indicates that a GWP for NF3 was not available in the IPCC Second Assessment Report.

 



Hydrofluorocabons (HFCs) IPCC Global Warming Potentials - 100-Year Time Horizon
Greenhouse GasFormulaSecond Assessment ReportFootnote[1]Fourth Assessment ReportFootnote[2]
HFC-23CHF311 70014 800
HFC-32CH2F2650675
HFC-41CH3F15092
HFC-43-10meeCF3CHFCHFCF2CF31 3001 640
HFC-125CHF2CF32 8003 500
HFC-134CHF2CHF21 0001 100
HFC-134aCH2FCF31 3001 430
HFC-143CH2FCHF2300353
HFC-143aCH3CF33 8004 470
HFC-152CH2FCH2F-53
HFC-152aCH3CHF2140124
HFC-161CH3CH2F-12
HFC-227eaCF3CHFCF32 9003 220
HFC-236cbCH2FCF2CF3-1 340
HFC-236eaCHF2CHFCF3-1 370
HFC-236faCF3CH2CF36 3009 810
HFC-245caCH2FCF2CHF2560693
HFC-245faCHF2CH2CF3-1 030
HFC-265mfcCH3CF2CH2CF3-794

Note: '-' indicates that a GWP for NF3 was not available in the IPCC Second Assessment Report.

 


Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)IPCC Global Warming Potentials - 100-Year Time Horizon
Greenhouse GasFormulaSecond Assessment ReportFootnote[1]Fourth Assessment ReportFootnote[2]
PerfluoromethaneCF46 5007 390
PerfluoroethaneC2F69 20012 200
PerfluoropropaneC3F87 0008 830
PerfluorobutaneC4F107 0008 860
Perfluorocyclobutanec-C4F88 70010 300
PerfluoropentaneC5F127 5009 160
PerfluorohexaneC6F147 4009 300
PerfluorodecalinC10F18-7 500
Perfluorocyclopropanec-C3F6-17 340

Note: '-' indicates that a GWP for NF3 was not available in the IPCC Second Assessment Report.


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