Methane is a greenhouse gas that, molecule for molecule, traps more than 20 times as much heat in the atmosphere as does carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is still considered to be the most important greenhouse gas, because it makes up by far the largest percentage of greenhouse gases emitted by human activities, and it lasts longer in the atmosphere than does methane. However, methane is likely the second most potent contributor to global warming. The major sources of methane coming from human activities include the cattle industry, and the decomposition of food and paper waste in the oxygen-free conditions created by landfills.
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