UK’s Carbon Footprint
The statistics reveal that the UK’s carbon footprint is falling. From 2008 to 2009, carbon dioxide emissions decreased for 9 percent and in 2001, UK’s carbon dioxide emissions were lower for 7 percent in comparison to 2010. However, since emissions of this greenhouse gas were steadily rising for 35 percent between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, the UK’s carbon footprint is still higher than in the early 1990s.
Why the Amount of Carbon Dioxide Emissions Matters?
Carbon dioxide is only one of many greenhouse gases. These trap the heat that is radiated by the sun and prevent it from escaping from the Earth’s atmosphere. They play a vital role in sustaining life on our planet, however, the concentrations of greenhouse gases and in the first place, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have increased dramatically. This means more heat is trapped which in turn is warming the planet. Over the last century, the planet has warmed for 0.75 degrees Celsius. This may not seem much but it is enough to melt of the glaciers, cause the sea levels to rise, make extreme weather events more common, etc.. And if the average temperatures continue to rise, we are facing an unprecedented global climate change which could jeopardise life on Earth as we know it today including humans.
The world’s climate can change for various reasons including natural ones and has occurred in the past. But there is strong evidence that the climate change we are currently facing is mainly a result of human activities resulting in dramatic increase of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. From the time of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century until the end of the 20th century, the levels of this greenhouse gas increased for about 40 percent. Current concentrations of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere have been calculated to be highest in the last 800,000 years.
What are the Causes of Excess Carbon Dioxide Levels in the Atmosphere?
Three factors have been identified to contribute to excess carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere the most:
Fossil fuel burning. Coal, oil and gas release billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide when burned. Unfortunately, they are the main sources of energy which is needed for heating, transportation, manufacturing and a variety of everyday activities such as cooking, lighting, entertainment, etc..Certain changes such as ecu remapping can be implemented to use less car fuel.
Deforestation. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and release pure oxygen by which they help reduce the greenhouse effect and keep the Earth’s climate stable. The rates of deforestation vary but there is a general agreement that the world’s forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. And the fewer the trees the higher the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Population growth. Since human activities are thought to be the main contributor to the rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, population growth can result only in further emissions due to the increased pressure on food and energy.
What Can be Done to Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions?
The UK government has adopted a series of measures to promote sustainable development, support green economy and protect the environment by both sanctioning irresponsible environmental behaviour and supporting environmentally conscious development. But since about 40 percent of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions are produced by individuals, the country’s carbon footprint can be further cut only if everyone takes the necessary steps to reduce their carbon footprint.