Carbon dioxide or CO2 is a trace gas in the earth’s atmosphere. CO2 has been at the center of the global warming controversy, but probably has a greater effect on the environment concerning pollution. Global warming is affected by so many variables that it is impossible to say definitively exactly what percentages are attributed to each variable.
Natural Weather Cycles and CO2
are a major factor as is solar activity and sunspots. CO2 is only approximately 0.038 percent of the earth’s atmosphere. Before the industrial age CO2 was about 280 ppm (parts per million) and today it is about 382 ppm. This is about a 36% increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, since CO2 is only a fraction of 1%, even at a 100% increase other gases swallow any fractional percentage increases of carbon dioxide. Keep in mind that most carbon dioxide is natural and good.
It is used for carbonating soft drinks, in fire extinguishers, dry ice, greener propellant for aerosol cans, medical respiration, for transporting our food under good refrigeration, de-caffeinated coffee and many more great uses.
Earth’s Most Abundant Greenhouse Gases
- Water Vapor
- Carbon Dioxide
- Nitrous Oxide
Carbon Dioxide is Emitted Naturally
CO2 is emitted naturally through “Carbon Sink”. Carbon sink is in several forms but the vast majority is from the ocean and plants. This natural emission dwarfs any man-made emissions. It can be argued though, that CO2 in the ocean has increased since the Industrial Age. Plants give off carbon dioxide as a natural function of photosynthesis.
Man-Made Carbon Dioxide
The Industrial Age has brought about an increase in CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels. This takes place in many forms including your breath. The air we exhale has a much higher concentration of carbon dioxide then the air we inhale. Obviously, this is from the consistent inner warm temperature of our body. Other major causes of man-made CO2 are coal, oil and gas.
It has been noted that just the improvement of emissions on automobiles will have a tremendous affect on lowering the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is especially true if people switch to an electric car or one that gives off very little carbon dioxide. The newer vehicles today have drastically improved in this area.
China and India
China is the leading emitter of carbon dioxide in the world having recently taken over the United States. This unfortunate leading position is likely to increase even more because regulations are not as strict in China. Everyone remembers the Summer Olympics when China built giant walls and billboards to try and hide the waves of pollution. The anthropogenic or man-made pollution is so bad that some athletes refused to train there.
India is on track to over take China as the most populated country in the world in the next two decades. India is also ill equipped to control their pollution. China and India see more of a need to get their people out of extreme poverty then to have a clean environment. There are some solutions such as retrofitting factories with the expensive pollution control equipment.
Until this is accomplished no matter what the United States does it will be like a drop in the ocean if China and India do not cooperate. The environment is being affected by greenhouse gases much more than global warming. Since the Industrial Age has increased CO2 in the earths atmosphere we should try to reduce it. The bigger reason is for the environment not because of global warming. Many people who live in close proximity to industry have problems with asthma, cancer and a host of other diseases.
Many meteorologists and scientists have recently predicted the world is going into a global cooling period. Amazingly, global warming alarmists blame global warming on global cooling or global freezing temperatures. Even though there was an Ice Age without man-made CO2 emissions. Go figure.