DefinitionGreenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide, all of which play an important role in regulating the Earth's temperature. These gases help create the greenhouse effect, a process in which greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation from the sun and contain the heat in the atmosphere.
NumeratorCarbon dioxide emissions (as measured in millions of metric tons).
Why Is This Important?The design and layout of Utah's cities and neighborhoods has a substantial effect on the health of all Utahns. Urban sprawl, inadequate public transportation, and energy inefficient buildings not only affect human health but also have a distinct impact on climate change through the generation of greenhouse gas emissions.
More greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide, will disrupt the balance between energy absorbed and energy emitted, causing greater amounts of heat to be trapped at the Earth's surface and ultimately increasing surface temperatures. Excess carbon dioxide emissions is strongly linked to human activities, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels. In fact, most greenhouse gas emissions in the United States come from energy use. Within the United States, carbon dioxide emissions from petroleum and natural gas represent 82% of the total man-made greenhouse gas emissions .[[br]]
1. U.S. Energy Information Administration. (2011). Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2009. Retrieved on April 9, 2015 from [http://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/ghg_report/pdf/0573%282009%29.pdf].