Emissions refers to the greenhouses gases that are released into earth’s atmosphere.
The term “carbon emissions” is one we use frequently at fairechild and there is a good chance you have heard the term used elsewhere as well. If you aren’t entirely sure what is meant by the term, we hope this blog post will help shed some light on the matter.
What are carbon emissions?
When we talk about carbon emissions we are specifically talking about carbon dioxide which is “a non-poisonous gas formed by the combustion of carbon”1 as well as through the respiration of humans and other living things. Carbon dioxide is classified as a greenhouse gas because it ‘absorbs radiation and prevents heat from escaping our atmosphere’2. Greenhouse gases are naturally occurring and are actually necessary for life – without them earth would be too cold to be habitable. The problem is when we have too much greenhouse gas. In fact, carbon emissions are 140% higher than they were prior to the industrial revolution in 1750. In 1990, there were 500 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere but by 2014, the number had climbed to just below 10,000 million metric tons. Further, carbon emissions currently account for 76% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Methane and Nitrous Oxide, both commonly emitted as a result of agriculture also fall under the spectrum of greenhouse gases.
What effects do carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have on our planet?
We have given you a lot of numbers but it is important to know what those numbers mean for the planet. Essentially, greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and have the effect of warming the planet and altering weather patterns. As a result of greenhouse gases, glaciers and ice are melting quicker. This can cause the sea level to rise putting many low lying areas at risk of flooding, According to NASA, greenhouse gases will also cause a rise in droughts and heatwaves.
What can we do?
We all live on this planet and therefore we all share a responsibility to take care of it. Climate change is a scary phenomenon but there are things that you can do to help reduce your impact on the earth. Walking more places is a great start. It is a great source of exercise and doesn’t contribute any carbon emissions. If where you are going is too far to walk, consider biking or public transit if it’s available! Further, turning off lights when you aren’t in a room, using less hot water and recycling are also great ways to lower your carbon footprint. All of these things are relatively easy for each of us to do and can make a big difference!