Carbon emissions come from human and natural sources. Today, the activities of humans increase the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, right from the Industrial Revolution era. It’s now on risky levels, more dangerous than it’s been seen for millions of years.
Even though carbon emissions from human sources are lower than what comes from natural sources, they keep upsetting the natural balance that has been before human influence.
Top Carbon Emissions Sources
So what are the biggest sources of carbon emissions on earth today? Below are five sources of carbon emissions across the world today.
Changes in land use
This has a global effect regarding the source of carbon emissions. In 2011, land use changes account for about nine percent of human carbon emissions. It also added 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon emissions.
What are land use changes? That’s when the natural environment is made into an area for human use. Such use includes settlements and agriculture.
For more than a century (especially between 1850 and 2000), land use change land use has been estimated to release 395 to 689 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That’s between 27.7% and 40% of overall anthropogenic carbon emissions. The majority of these emissions come from deforestation.
Fossil fuel use and combustion
Carbon emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels remain the biggest when it comes to a human sources. It generates eighty-seven percent of human carbon emissions. The energy that comes from these fuels while burning is converted into power for transportation, electricity, or heat.
Fossil fuels are used for powering industrial facilities, planes, cars, and plants (in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas). Across the globe, over thirty billion metric tons of carbon emissions were created by fossil fuels in 2011.
Exchange within ocean-atmosphere
Here is the biggest natural source of carbon emissions - the ocean-atmosphere exchange. This alone accounts for almost forty-three percent of natural carbon emissions.
There is dissolved carbon dioxide in the oceans. These emissions are often released into the air. The atmosphere and the ocean exchange lots of molecules via diffusion. One of them is carbon dioxide.
Animal and plant respiration
Plant and animal respiration are significant natural sources of carbon dioxide. This produces about twenty-nine percent of natural emissions.
Plants and animals produce energy from their respiration. Carbon dioxide comes from the chemical reactions that plants and animals use to generate needed energy. Over two hundred billion tonnes of carbon emissions are generated from this process every year.
This is also a by-product of chemical reactions. Different industrial processes create carbon emissions. Among the human sources of carbon emissions, industrial processes account for about 4 percent. In 2011, they contributed almost two billion metric tons of carbon emissions.
Indirectly, industrial processes emit carbon dioxide via the use of electricity gotten from fossil fuels. Directly, carbon emissions are from fossil fuel combustion.
Today, human sources of carbon dioxide emissions are smaller than natural sources. Yet, human sources have been upsetting the natural balance. As you can see, fossil fuel use and combustion is the highest human source of carbon emissions today - and they come mainly from oil, natural gas, and coal. Finally, click here to learn about carbon emission calculation.