Last edited 19 Feb 2021

Global warming potential

Embodied Carbon: Developing a Client Brief, published by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) in March 2017, defines Global Warming Potential (GWP) as: ‘…a relative measure of how much a given mass of greenhouse gas is estimated to contribute to global warming over a given time interval. It is expressed relative to carbon dioxide which has a GWP of 1. These factors are regularly updated, and it is recommended to use the latest factors from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Most assessments adopt GWP factors over a 100 year-time horizon.

GWP of principal greenhouse gases over 100 years excluding climate-carbon feedbacks

Greenhouse Gas GWP Typical sources
Carbon dioxide (CO2) 1 Energy combustion, biochemical reactions
Methane (CH4) 28 Decomposition
Nitrous oxide (N2O) 265 Fertilisers, car emissions, manufacturing

Ref IPCC, 2013. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group 1 to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Table 8.7.

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