CO2 is the largest contributor to global warming. It stays in the atmosphere the longest – up to 200 years. The damage created by CO2 emissions is something we experience today, and will continue to experience for decades to come.
This is why scientists initially focused on lowering CO2 emissions. However, in the IPCC AR6 WGI and III reports, it was found that another greenhouse gas needs to be dealt with urgently: methane.
Methane lives for only a short time in the atmosphere – around 12 years. Yet, it is a very powerful greenhouse gas – about 80 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year time horizon. There is now so much of it that it is forcing global warming even faster.
Reducing carbon and methane emissions is vital to meeting the Paris Agreement temperature targets.