Part five of a ten part series: Diving into The Carbon Almanac
Carbon dioxide is the key contributor to climate change. It makes up 80% of all greenhouse gasses and is the most significant contributor to human-caused climate change.
What are the four main factors in carbon dioxide emissions? Coal, combustion, cows and concrete, otherwise known as the 4C’s. Together these four factors account for a projected 70% of the climate change problem.
When coal remains buried underground, its carbon is contained. The carbon becomes a problem when it is extracted and burned. In 2021, coal burning was the largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions.
Combustion happens whenever we apply heat to fossil fuels in order to release their energy. During this process, carbon is released.
Cows produce methane and methane is 84 times worse for the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. So what? Well, there are 1.4 billion cows on the planet, they use a lot of land and global beef consumption is on the rise.
Concrete contributes 8 percent of all global carbon dioxide emissions. We’ve tripled our per capita production of concrete in the last forty years. A key component of concrete is cement, and it's the old and inefficient production method of cement that is responsible for the emissions.
In each of these four factors, there are now new and better product and production alternatives that we can use to reduce emissions.
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