Global warming potentials

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

Global Warming Potential (GWP) metric 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.

Global warming potentials for greenhouse gases

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC Global Warming Potentials - 100-Year Time Horizon
Greenhouse Gas Formula Second Assessment Reporta Fourth Assessment Reportb
Carbon dioxide CO2 1 1
Methane CH4 21 25
Nitrous oxide N2O 310 298
Sulphur hexafluoride SF6 23 900 22 800
Nitrogen trifluoride NF3 - 17 200
Hydrofluorocabons (HFCs) IPCC Global Warming Potentials - 100-Year Time Horizon
Greenhouse Gas Formula Second Assessment Reporta Fourth Assessment Reportb
HFC-23 CHF3 11 700 14 800
HFC-32 CH2F2 650 675
HFC-41 CH3F 150 92
HFC-43-10mee CF3CHFCHFCF2CF3 1 300 1 640
HFC-125 CHF2CF3 2 800 3 500
HFC-134 CHF2CHF2 1 000 1 100
HFC-134a CH2FCF3 1 300 1 430
HFC-143 CH2FCHF2 300 353
HFC-143a CH3CF3 3 800 4 470
HFC-152 CH2FCH2F - 53
HFC-152a CH3CHF2 140 124
HFC-161 CH3CH2F - 12
HFC-227ea CF3CHFCF3 2 900 3 220
HFC-236cb CH2FCF2CF3 - 1 340
HFC-236ea CHF2CHFCF3 - 1 370
HFC-236fa CF3CH2CF3 6 300 9 810
HFC-245ca CH2FCF2CHF2 560 693
HFC-245fa CHF2CH2CF3 - 1 030
HFC-265mfc CH3CF2CH2CF3 - 794
Perfluorocarbons (HFCs) IPCC Global Warming Potentials - 100-Year Time Horizon
Greenhouse Gas Formula Second Assessment Reporta Fourth Assessment Reportb
Perfluoromethane CF4 6 500 7 390
Perfluoroethane C2F6 9 200 12 200
Perfluoropropane C3F8 7 000 8 830
Perfluorobutane C4F10 7 000 8 860
Perfluorocyclobutane c-C4F8 8 700 10 300
Perfluoropentane C5F12 7 500 9 160
Perfluorohexane C6F14 7 400 9 300
Perfluorodecalin C10F18 - 7 500
Perfluorocyclopropane c-C3F6 - 17 340
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