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Considering the global warming potential of CO2 as one, the global warming potential of CH4 has been estimated to be approximately :
1. 12
2. 15
3. 21
4. 35

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Correct Answer - Option 3 : 21

The correct answer is 21.

  • The Global Warming Potential (GWP) was developed to allow comparisons of the global warming impacts of different gases.
  • Specifically, it is a measure of how much energy the emissions of 1 ton of a gas will absorb over a given period of time, relative to the emissions of 1 ton of carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • The larger the GWP, the more that a given gas warms the Earth compared to CO2 over that time period.
    • The time period usually used for GWPs is 100 years.
  • CO2 has a GWP of 1 of the time period used because it is the gas being used as the reference.


  • Methane (CH4) is estimated to have a GWP of 21 over 100 years.
    • The CH4 GWP also accounts for some indirect effects, such as the fact that CH4 is a precursor to ozone, and ozone is itself a GHG.
  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O) has a GWP 265–298 times that of CO2 for a 100-year timescale.
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) are sometimes called high-GWP gases because, for a given amount of mass, they trap substantially more heat than CO2.

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