We all know that carbon emissions are a bad thing for the human race and for the world as we know it. But how much do you really know about carbon emissions, who causes the most, and how they’re impacting the planet?
Let’s dive in to some fascinating facts and figures about carbon:
The largest source of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is the burning of fossil fuels and vegetation – as the result of human activity. Globally, humans produce over 40 billion tonnes of CO2 every year. 41 countries (each emitting more than 100 million tonnes) are responsible for the lion’s share (90%) of carbon emissions.
China and the USA are the largest emitters of CO2, and both countries expect emissions to rise in the next 20 years.
For all our talk about our clean, green image, New Zealand isn’t exactly blameless here. Our greenhouse gas emissions have increased from 1990 to 2015. The energy sector accounts for 87% of all our CO2 emissions. Within this sector, road vehicle emissions are 37% of the total, while manufacturing and construction are 19%. This is why switching to clean, renewable energy is so important, because it will help New Zealand build a reliable electric vehicle network and reduce our road vehicle emissions.
Electricity generation is only 11% of New Zealand’s total CO2 emissions, a vast contrast from other Western countries where electricity is the main source. We’re proud of New Zealand’s dedication to creating long-term sustainable energy solutions, but we believe that we can continue to do better!
Road transport is responsible for 74% of all transportation-induced carbon emissions, compared to just 12% from airlines. The airline industry is working hard to meet its target of halving carbon emissions, by investing in aviation fuel made in full or in part from biofuels derived from algae, jatropha, and waste by-products. The latest Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft use less than 3 litres of jet fuel per 100 kilometres, matching the efficiency of a standard compact car.
CO2 isn’t the only greenhouse gas we need to worry about. By 2030, non-carbon emissions could account for around 34% of total emissions, and many of these could be even more harmful to the planet. That’s why it’s so important to start doing something now!
Increased greenhouse gas emissions (including CO2 and other gasses) are a concern, because they cause global climate change, which is leading to warming oceans, melting polar regions, rising sea levels, land erosion, reduction in inland fresh water, climate events, and species extinction.
Knowledge is power. The more we understand about where CO2 emissions are coming from and why they’re such a big deal, the more inspired we will all be to do something about it.