Government of New Brunswick

The Earth's atmosphere contains "greenhouse gases", which keeps the Earth at temperatures suitable for living things. This is known as the "greenhouse effect".


Greenhouse gases

Three gases that add to the greenhouse effect are water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane. All of these can occur naturally in the environment.

Water vapor is a gas and is invisible. Water vapor is part of the world's water cycle. When water in rivers, lakes and oceans evaporates, water vapor enters the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide or CO2 is produced whenever fossil fuels are used (driving vehicles, heating homes, or flying airplanes). Methane is released in the natural process of decomposition, when organic waste breaks down in places without much oxygen.

A variety of human activities are a growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, mostly by burning fossil fuels to produce energy.

Since the Industrial Revolution, back in the early 1800s, we've been using more energyand producing more GHGs than ever before in the history of the world. This is throwing off the natural balance of our climate system.


Trees take in carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases. When forests are cut down, less carbon dioxide can be taken up by trees and more builds up in the atmosphere.

Energy use, for heating, cooling, transportation, and appliances, is by far the biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions.