How Does CO2 Cause Global Warming?

Here is a short overview of how CO2 and other GHGs cause global warming.

How Does CO2 Cause Global Warming?

How is CO2 contributing to our current heat waves, and how does it cause global warming?

In the light of the more frequent heatwaves and resulting droughts, it is impossible to overlook their relationship with climate change. As CO2 data experts, it is our duty to inform on how CO2 strongly accelerates the global warming and the current heat waves.

The greenhouse effect

When the earth is illuminated by the sun, its surface re-emits part of the radiation it has received towards space ("albedo" effect). This reflection is particularly important on snowy or icy areas (glaciers, ice floes, ice caps...). However, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane or nitrous oxide (all these gases that we group together under the term carbon dioxide equivalents or "CO2e", for simplicity's sake), retain part of this infrared radiation emitted by the earth and send it right back to earth. This contributes to warming our atmosphere and our planet.

The consequences of human activities

Without human emissions, the situation would normally be balanced. However, human activities such as deforestation, intensive livestock farming, burning of fossil fuels etc. considerably increase the emission of greenhouse gases, especially CO2 and methane. These gases accumulate in the atmosphere reaching unprecedented levels, which intensifies the greenhouse effect. The consequences are already being felt worldwide (IPCC, 2022)

Rising temperatures

According to the International Panel on Climate Change, "human-induced warming reached approximately 1°C (likely between 0.8°C and 1.2°C) above pre-industrial levels in 2017, increasing at 0.2°C (likely between 0.1°C and 0.3°C) per decade (high confidence)" (Allen et al. 2018). This results in extreme temperatures and, as we can currently see, more frequent and longer heat waves.

Chain reactions

The melting of ice is one of the numerous chain reactions caused by global warming. The sun's rays are consequently less reflected by glaciers and ice banks, which leads them to be absorbed by the earth and seas, causing a rise in global warming.

The manufacturing industry's responsibility

This simplified explanation demonstrates the causality of human activities on what is currently happening in the world in terms of heat wave. According to Martin Lundstedt, CEO and President of the Volvo Group in an article published on the World Economic Forum, "the manufacturing industry must accept its heavy responsibility for emissions of greenhouse gases" precising that in Europe "the industry emits an annual total of 880 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents making it one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases on the continent."

It is therefore vital to drastically change producers' behaviors, in particular by analyzing their product carbon footprint, which not only makes it possible to determine their ecological impact, but also to discover optimization levers in the product components as well as in the product processes within their supply chain. However, this can only be done accurately if sufficient and current data is available. Contact us to learn more about the largest CO2e database for the calculation of precise PCFs.


Allen, M.R., O.P. Dube, W. Solecki, F. Aragón-Durand, W. Cramer, S.  Humphreys, M. Kainuma, J. Kala, N. Mahowald, Y. Mulugetta, R. Perez, M.  Wairiu, and K. Zickfeld (2018). Framing and Context. In: Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming  of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas  emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response  to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to  eradicate poverty [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D.  Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R.  Pidcock, S. Connors, J.B.R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M.I. Gomis, E.  Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, and T. Waterfield (eds.)]. Cambridge  University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA, pp. 49-92. Doi:10.1017/9781009157940.003. Access:

Lundstedt, M. (2021, June 14). From remanufacturing to recycling: how manufacturing can raise the bar on global climate goals. World Economic Forum. Access:

Ministère de l'éducation nationale (2019). Le bilan énergétique terrestre albédo, effet de serre. Enseignement scientifique. Access: