What Causes CO₂ Emissions?
Understanding the causes and details of common problems is the necessary first step towards resolution in any situation. When we think about the state of the Earth today, it's no secret that there are large problems such as air pollution and climate change that, unless they are resolved, will continue to plague us well into the future and negatively affect the lives of our children and grandchildren. We have enough information today to know that CO₂ emissions can be detrimental to the health of our planet and that there are ramifications of ongoing pollution on both humans and animals as well. But what many may not understand is where all of these CO₂ emissions come from – how they are produced, why they are produced, and how we can make positive changes to adapt and move away from our dependency on sources of CO₂ emissions in the pursuit of a cleaner world.
Ever since we started mass-producing at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide (CO₂) has become an increasingly large problem that we now need to get a handle on and take responsibility for. As the Earth's population increases and we require more energy, more manufacturing, more food – more everything – to satisfy everyone's wants and needs, we end up burning more fossil fuels, generating excess carbon dioxide, and expecting that the planet can adapt and recuperate to suit our ever-growing desires – but that isn't how it works. We need to recognize which activities are primarily to blame for all of this excess CO₂ so that we can take action to make things right again.
Where Does It All Come From?
The Earth generates CO₂ inherently, even if you remove humans from the equation. All plants and animals emit CO₂, and our oceans absorb much of it at an alarming rate. Through photosynthesis, plants and trees also absorb CO₂ and turn it into oxygen. This all works rather well, but then we add the human factor back into the mix. Human sources of carbon dioxide account for the majority of excess CO₂ production, but it isn't because we breathe too much. An alarming 87% of CO₂ emissions produced by humans are credited to the burning of fossil fuels including oil, coal, and natural gas. If we can acknowledge that we are the ones who are upsetting the natural balance of CO₂ in our atmosphere, we can pinpoint the excess into a few main categories.
Heat & Electricity
The most prominent human-produced carbon dioxide source is the energy industry, responsible for providing electricity, heating, and cooling for our homes, schools, offices, commercial buildings, factories, and more. Most of our time is spent indoors and it means that a considerable amount of electricity is used for lighting, water heating, appliances, and HVAC systems. As technology advances, we also grow increasingly dependent on our various devices and tools that take up even more resources and create further demand on our energy sector. This means more power plants, more fossil fuels, and more pollution. That said, this is also one of the easiest areas where we can reduce our consumption and cut back on carbon dioxide emissions.
Our dependency on the automobile has grown along with the population and owning one or two vehicles per household has become the norm. In 2018, passenger cars, trains, and freight trucks represented a large portion of transportation-based CO₂ emissions (72%), but marine (14%) and aviation (11%) operations are included in the mix as well. Of all greenhouse gas emissions, 28.2% (the largest portion) were the result of the transportation sector with petroleum fuel responsible for over 90% of transportation-based pollution.
Manufacturing, construction, mining, and agriculture are all industries that we need to provide for our modern lifestyles. Manufacturing products from raw materials is how we create most of what we purchase and use for infrastructure, and this means burning a lot of coal and other CO₂ emitting materials. Cement production, for example, uses naturally-occurring limestone, but in order to produce it, the stone must be heated up to 1450°C. Burning fossil fuels is the only way to achieve temperatures of that caliber and thus excess CO₂ is produced.
If we look at these three sectors we can assign most of the blame when it comes to excess emissions that are harmful to our planet. But while they are the main contributors, they aren't the only ones to consider. Forestry, oceans, land use changes, and more can also emit CO₂, as can plant, animal, and human respiration. It isn't as though we can breathe less, but we can find other ways to cut down on our own carbon footprints.
How PowerX Can Help You Reduce Your Impact
PowerX helps homeowners monitor and track the amount of energy they use and has developed a simplified way of cutting down and substantially reducing consumption. We focus on water, electricity, and gas, and have created a suite of single sensor devices that integrate seamlessly with the existing systems in your home. Not only do these devices enable you to cut back on your energy usage, but they utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning capability to find smart ways to reduce your utility bill as well.
Our PowerX Water, PowerX Electricity, and PowerX Gas automatically create an inventory of the appliances in your home and then begin to track how and when these appliances use energy. They can create schedules to conserve energy during peak times as well as detect when one appliance is drawing more than usual, indicating a malfunction or service need. You'll even be able to tell when it's time to replace your appliances at the end of their useful service life as they begin to draw excess energy and become increasingly inefficient. This level of insight into how your home runs can help you save money as well as do your part in curbing excess CO₂ production. Contact us today to learn more about PowerX and how we can help you reduce your carbon footprint and push for a smarter, more efficient world.