Carbon Emitting Sectors
By: Erin Smith
The warming of the Earth is a very dangerous reality. Scientists are concerned for the future of our planet as humans and industries continue to release toxins like carbon dioxide, deplete natural resources for capital gain, and litter the oceans and land. We are facing a tight schedule to prevent future long-term damages to our planet including: extreme weather events, water shortages, and considerable loss of life.
The human hand plays a massive role in the toxins warming our planet. The Environmental Protection Agency declared that carbon dioxide continues to be the biggest greenhouse gas that is emitted from the use of fossil fuels and “…from direct human-induced impacts on forestry and other land use, such as deforestation, land clearing for agriculture, and degradation of soils.”
As mentioned above, there are many factors that contribute to the warming of the Earth, but carbon emissions are one of the largest threats. Specifically, industries are major emitters of carbon into the atmosphere.
The following statistics are provided by Polly Cunanan's article, "Carbon Intensive Industries - The Industry Sectors that Emit the Most Carbon.” Any other sources are highlighted green as a link for you to read more on each topic. PLEASE click these links to read more about these sections as they are major factors in why carbon emissions are so high.
This information focuses on industry sectors that contribute to world carbon emissions.
Cunanan explained that the burning of fossil fuels for energy production is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the world. Combusting fossil fuels create heat, electricity, and generate power for homes, offices, manufacturing, and construction.
This energy production focuses on three main types of fossil fuels: coal, natural gas, and oil. In 2017, there was a surge in carbon emissions due to China's excessive carbon burning as an attempt to generate energy when rivers were drained from drought, thus impacting their hydropower generation.
Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use
Agriculture, livestock-raising, deforestation, and the conversion of forest lands for farming/development all contribute to the emissions of carbon. Deforestation and land development eliminate trees which is nature’s way of absorbing carbon dioxide emissions. Animal agriculture releases more than just carbon dioxide. Crowded conditions and fertilizers lead to methane and nitrous oxide emissions in the ground and air. Agriculture, forestry, and other land use is another massive contributor to the increased carbon emissions on our planet.
This sector includes the following: mining, manufacturing, and construction. The industrial sector has produced as much as 21% of carbon dioxide emissions in 2014. According to a carbon emissions report, the five industries that contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions include: paper, food, petroleum refineries, chemicals, and metal/mineral products. Combusting fossil fuels is a main part of these company’s manufacturing process.
This is commonly a well-known carbon emitter because most people have a car that they drive daily. The carbon emissions report also stated that road transport is responsible for 72% of the sector’s carbon dioxide emissions, with marine shipping producing 14%, and global aviation 11%. Transportation emissions stem from the burning of gas that is released into the atmosphere.
This image above provided by the BBC breaks down the different emission levels from different modes of transportation. As you can see, a one passenger car emits the largest amount of carbon dioxide emissions. This is why public transportation, riding your bike, carpooling, etc. are highly encouraged to reduce those emissions.
Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Sectors
This sector includes households, business buildings, restaurants, etc. In this area, energy is consumed for heating, cooling, refrigeration, and so on. Data shows that as much as 3.38 million gigagrams (1 gigagram is equivalent to 1,000,000 kilograms) of carbon dioxide was released by this sector in 2010.
The graphic below depicts the different sector’s emissions. You can clearly see that energy emits a considerably higher amount of carbon than the other sectors. Also, there is a common upwards trend which means carbon emissions are increasing.
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