Carbon emissions are the release of carbon into our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is known as a greenhouse gas as it absorbs heat. When these emissions get trapped within our atmosphere, they contribute to global warming. There are natural and human carbon dioxide emissions; natural emissions include decomposition, respiration and ocean release; human emissions include activities such as production and manufacturing, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels.
While carbon dioxide emissions have always had an impact on our environment, the human contribution in recent years is unsustainable and is creating irreparable damage to our planet. It was reported that humans are responsible for a net 5 billion metric tons which remain in our atmosphere, which has seen global average carbon dioxide concentrations increase by approximately 2.3 parts per million per year.
Humans have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by almost 50% since 1750. In 2020, world energy demand declined by 4.5%. This drop is expected to be the main contributor to the estimated 6% drop in carbon emissions in 2020; this was the largest decline in both instances since World War II.
It is estimated that the largest factor in global greenhouse gas emissions is electricity and heat production – accounting for approximately 25% of emissions; agriculture, forestry and other land use accounts for approximately 24%, buildings 6%, transportation 14%, industry 21% and other energy 10%.
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Sources: Climate.gov, Forbes, United States Environmental Protection Agency.