The Importance of Decreasing CO2 Emissions

The Importance of Decreasing CO2 Emissions

From as early as the 19th century, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have contributed to the slow and steady warming of the Earth. CO2 is one of the many greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. Additionally, it is the most frequent  of the greenhouse gases (methane, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and fluorinated gases) emitted through human activities.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CO2 accounted for 81.6% of all the greenhouse gases emitted in 2016, but the amount of emissions of carbon dioxide continues to grow and damage the planet. In 2018, the amount of CO2 emissions increased by 2.7% from 2017. According to Scientific American, the amount of emissions was expected to stay constant after 2015, but the rise in more recent years has proven this to be incorrect, and the amount of carbon dioxide will likely continue to rise in coming years.

There are several contributing factors to the rise of carbon dioxide emissions, many of which we all contribute to on the daily. According to the EPA, 34% percent of all CO2 emissions come from transportation, and an additional 34% come from electricity. Both of which are major aspects of life. Combustion from fossil fuels for transportation continues to be one of the leading causes for the increase in carbon dioxide emissions. This could easily be decreased with an increase in carpooling. With more carpooling being implemented, CO2 emissions could decrease monumentally. Another way to help with CO2 emissions caused by vehicles is to drive cars that produce less harmful gases into the atmosphere, which are becoming more common among car brands.  While this wouldn’t completely eliminate the carbon dioxide emissions created by transportation, it would certainly decrease the already extremely high numbers. Additionally, most of carbon dioxide emissions from electricity come from homes. There are obvious ways to decrease the amount of electricity in our own homes, such as maintaining the heat or cooling systems and switching to more “environmentally friendly” light bulbs, that could really help to slow down the process of global warming.

Many people try to contribute to “saving” the environment by recycling, but the truth is that greenhouse gases have a much larger effect on the atmosphere. Recycling can sometimes even have negative effects on the environment. Certain metal recycling techniques can cause large amounts of hazardous smoke, which is obviously not helping the environment. The use of these techniques are extremely rare, but there are instances where they’re implemented. According to the EPA, recycling decreases the amount of waste in landfills, which reduces the air pollution created by these landfills. Because of this, recycling is an important practice, but it’s certainly less important that reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

There are many other ways to help the environment, and slow the process of global warming, but recycling and decreasing carbon dioxide emission are two of the most “popular” and important ways. CO2 emissions will continue to rise, and negatively impact the Earth, unless an enormous amount of people change their habits and decrease their own contribution to the problem.