March 1, 2016
Whenever people burn fossil fuels like gas, coal or oil and with it, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. And it is happening everywhere across the globe. Thus the largest human source of carbon dioxide emissions is from the combustion of fossil fuels as it produces 87 per cent of human carbon dioxide emissions.
Burning these fossil fuels releases energy. The energy is most commonly turned into heat, electricity and transportation. So where is the problem?
The Co2 content had remained steady for thousands of years as the natural cycle would add and remove CO2 to keep a balance. But the industrial revolution changed everything. As more and more Co2 was released in the atmosphere, land and oceans failed to absorb it upsetting the natural balance of the carbon cycle completely.
As the Co2 and other greenhouse gas absorb infrared radiation trapping heat in the atmosphere it increases the heat in the atmosphere and leads to global warming and climate change. Today the climate is changing in an unpredictable manner and the world is witnessing it in the form of floods, hurricanes, heat waves and droughts.
The Co2 emissions contribute to global greenhouse gases by 65 per cent. The land use changes especially in cases of deforestation, land clearing for agriculture, and degradation of soils add C02 emission by 11 per cent.
It is followed by Methane (CH4). 16 per cent of CH4 released in atmosphere is due to agricultural activities, waste management, energy use, and biomass burning. The Nitrous Oxide, which contributes 6 per cent to the global emission, is generated through agricultural activities particularly fertilizer use. The fertilizer use is the primary source of nitrous oxide emissions. Fluorinated gases (F-gases) are produced through Industrial processes, refrigeration and also by use of consumer products. They contribute 2 percent to the greenhouse gas emissions.
Data shows that the electricity and heat production causes 25 percent of greenhouse gases in the air while agriculture and other forestry land use contribute to 25 per cent. Industry is at third position with 21 percent. Transportation comes fourth with 14 per cent contribution.
Three countries, United States, China and India produce nearly 60 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. And the planet's future will be shaped by what these top carbon polluters do to reduce the emission to arrest the global warming.