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Main sources of CO2 emissions

Human activity doesn’t exactly tickle the planet. It does not pamper it, it does not even respect it. We know very well how that primate called human being spends them, the result of an evolutionary process that lasted millions of years, started with the first primates. From that 65 million years ago, in particular, and since then, the human being, of the suborder of the haplorhines and of the hominidae family, has not stopped harming other species and polluting the planet. His latest feat? Cause the sixth mass extinction, a consequence of human-induced factors such as overpopulation, resource exploitation and pollution.

With regard to pollution, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions cause an excess of greenhouse gases such that only if we stop it in time can we stop its dire consequences. But, although it is true that man is contributing greatly to increase the CO2 that exists in the atmosphere, there are natural sources of CO2 emission. Still, climate change is due to human activity.

You may also be interested in: How to reduce CO2 emissions at home
  1. Combustion of fossil fuels and biomass
  2. Main sources of greenhouse gas emissions: energy supply
  3. Industrial production
  4. Natural sources of CO2 emission

Combustion of fossil fuels and biomass

Unless miracles occur in the next climate summits (COP21 and following), CO2 production will not stop increasing in the coming years. It has occurred since the industrial revolution, especially when the combustion of petroleum products began to be abused in the 19th century, and caused environmental disasters through massive deforestation, carbon sinks that gradually reduce their capacity to absorb carbon.

Since then, the level of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has skyrocketed. To the natural causes are added those caused by the human being. Let’s not forget that more than 75 percent of human-made CO2 emissions come from fossil fuels , which include coal, natural gas and oil.

When combustion occurs, the carbon contained in them is almost completely returned to the atmosphere, causing a significant imbalance in the carbon cycle. To get an idea of ​​the situation, here are some data: while the concentration of atmospheric CO2 was 280 ppm in the period 1000-1750, in 200 it went to 368 ppm. In percentages, it would amount to a 31 percent increase, an unprecedented increase. Today the concentration is the highest in the last 420,000 years, and perhaps the highest in the last 20 million years as well.

Some human activities contribute to this situation, which we have not controlled for a whopping 150 years. Those that involve burning fossil fuels and biomass (firewood, pellets, gas, oil and fuels) allow us to produce energy, with which we obtain electricity, or use it to produce materials or, for example, for transportation.

Today, one of the deepest carbon footprints comes from the transport of goods and people. The car, the plane, road, rail and maritime transport, among other types of transport, are large emitters of CO2, although some are more so than others, especially in air or road transport.

However much progress has been made in sustainable transport, its use is still anecdotal in the general context, just as the use of renewable energy increases, so does the use of fossil fuels. Currently, 99 percent of the energy used for transport comes from fossil fuels, and the trend does not look to change. Similarly, electricity consumption is generated mainly from the combustion of fossil fuels. Except for countries like France or Canada, the rest need them to generate between 60 and 80 percent of their electricity.

Main sources of greenhouse gas emissions: energy supply

However, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the bulk of the CO2 emitted was due to the electricity supply chapter, which includes gas, steam, air conditioning and water for industrial and domestic use, representing more than a quarter share of global emissions of anthropogenic (man-made) Greenhouse Gases in the 2004 report.

Industrial production

Industrial processes (including in addition to manufacturing industries, construction, mining and agriculture) are also another important source of carbon dioxide emissions. Either by using fossil fuel to obtain the heat and steam necessary for the different stages of its production or by being large consumers of electricity. To this, in addition, we must add the emissions caused by the transport of its raw materials and products.

The manufacturing industry , -especially the paper mills, mineral-based products, food, oil refineries, metal, chemicals-, are the ones that contribute the most to the CO2 emissions produced by the industry, as well as the production of cement, iron and steel , among other industrial processes, since treatments of carbonaceous rocks (limestone, chalk, etc.) are highly polluting.

Natural sources of CO2 emission

But not only the human being is a source of CO2 emissions. For millions of years, the atmosphere has been receiving it from very different sources, such as the same process of respiration of countless living beings, which extract oxygen from the air they breathe and emit CO2, although plants compensate for this emission by also being CO2 sinks when they photosynthesize.

The forest fires are another source of CO2 atsmosférico to take into account. Many occur naturally, but even these today may be indirectly due to human action, since climate change favors them through so-called extreme events.

The characteristics of the fires are different, now they are more numerous and virulent, as there are more periods of drought, heat waves, and these in turn are more severe. Likewise, when living beings die, they decompose in organic processes that entail CO2 emissions. Finally, in addition to magma, volcanic eruptions produce gaseous emissions, including carbon dioxide.

If you want to read more articles similar to Main sources of CO2 emissions , we recommend that you enter our Pollution category .

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Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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