What are the differences between GHGs, atmospheric emissions and methane emissions?

Understanding key environmental terms is the first step towards taking effective action on the climate. Three of those terms – greenhouse gases (GHS), atmospheric emissions and methane emissions – are frequently used, but they mean different things.

GHGs are a group of gases that absorb and hold in the heat from the world’s surface, thus contributing to the greenhouse effect. This effect is a natural one, and essential for life on Earth because it helps to maintain our planet’s temperature at a habitable level. This group includes gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), mostly produced by burning fossil fuels, methane (CH4), nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases.

Meanwhile, methane emissions refer to a specific category of GHGs. Methane is produced when organic matter decomposes in oxygen-free (anaerobic) environments, such as landfill sites, paddy fields, or the digestive system of ruminant animals, as well as during the extraction and transport of fossil fuels.

Lastly, the term atmospheric emissions covers all gases and particles that are released into the atmosphere, whether or not they contribute to the greenhouse effect. That includes oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, fine particles, which are released by various human activities such as road transport and industry.

At Teréga, we are committed to reducing all forms of emissions, be they GHGs, atmospheric emissions, or methane emissions. Through our BE POSITIF programme, we implement strategies to minimise our carbon footprint and develop innovative solutions for a more sustainable future.

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