Why is carbon dioxide (CO₂) considered the main villain when we talk about climate change?
As one of six greenhouse gases regulated by the Kyoto Protocol, CO₂ is the biggest cause of global warming. Why is that?
There are several reasons, the most important of which are:
1. Other gases are just much less common in the athmosphere
Carbon dioxide– and other gases emitted from industrial and agricultural sources– trap heat in the atmosphere, so it is no surprise that we are now witnessing an increase in global average temperature.
CO₂ has contributed the most to climate change between 1750 and 2011, with half of the human-related CO₂ emissions occurring only in the last 40 years! Other gases (e.g. methane) have a stronger heat binding capacity than CO₂ but are much less common in the atmosphere.
2. CO₂ remains in the atmosphere longer
CO₂ remains in the atmosphere longer than the other major heat-trapping gases emitted as a result of human activities.
The residence time of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is about 1000 years– 10% of it will even take 10,000 years to turn over! Compared to this, methane remains in the atmosphere for a relatively short time, namely only about 12.4 years.
Reach out to us if you would like to support holistic climate action in Mexico– now is the perfect time!