Do you know your carbon footprint? Did you know that methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide,… do not have the same greenhouse effect? How can we compare them? What is global warming power? And what does “eq” mean after the CO2 formula? Dive into the heart of the carbon sector, with this article and our interactive videos defining the key concepts necessary to understand this field.
Greenhouse Gases (GHG) do not all have the same greenhouse effect power. In order to compare them, “the ability of each gas to return energy to the ground is evaluated in comparison to CO2. We talk about Global Warming Potential (GWP)» (General Commissioner for Sustainable Development). This value depends on the lifetime of the GHG and its ability to capture and return solar rays.
The GWP measurement is the tonne of CO2 equivalent (CO2 or CO2eq). Each gas is weighted by a coefficient according to its greenhouse power: the coefficient is 1 for CO2, 25 for CH4 and 298 for N2O (General Commissioner for Sustainable Development). This makes it possible to compare the impact of different gases on the environment. It is this measure that makes it possible to calculate the carbon footprint. The latter is defined as the “volume of greenhouse gases produced by an activity, vehicle, individual, etc., and expressed in CO2 equivalent or carbon equivalent.” (Larousse Dictionary). To learn more about this term and the vocabulary of the carbon and GHG sector, watch our “Keywords” videos.
Definition of the carbon footprint (subtitles available in 5 languages):