Learn: A Global Challenge

Until some decades ago, the CO2 concentration ranged naturally between 180 and 280 parts per million (ppm). These variations can be caused by various sources, such as volcanic eruptions or the start of ice ages. But the CO2 concentration has increased considerably in the last decades and currently exceeds 380 ppm. This cannot be explained by natural factors anymore. The explaining factors have to be «anthropogenic» or «man-made»! But how exactly?

Well, mankind learned to gain energy from fossile fuels. Doing so, we’ve become able to produce more, to transport and to move faster, to build more houses, and to live more comfortable. In short: we industrialized. But burning fossile fuels produces greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide (CO2) as the dominant greenhouse gas is mainly produced by burning coal, oil and gas. Power plants that use these fossile fuels emit the largest share of greenhouse gases worldwide, even more than industry or transport.

Other greenhouse gases come from agriculture, for example in the production of food. Cattle ranching and rice cultivation are the main sources of methane emissions (CH4), and nitrogen fertilizers emit nitrous oxide (N2O). Other important sources of greenhouse gas emissions are deforestation, land clearance and waste landfills.

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