Why do CO2 levels keep rising?


With countries starting to switch to cleaner energy, electric vehicles and taking other measures to cut emissions why do CO2 levels keep rising at the rate that they do? Should the rate at which CO2 levels increase not be gradually decreasing?

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Because we keep burning oil and coal.

Oil, coal, and other fossil fuels are converted plant matter, which we burn to power our cars, our homes, our barbeques, and convert into plastics that we use for everything in life. The burning of fossil fuels and refining into plastics creates carbon dioxide, among other compounds.

Even “green” devices, like electric cars, still are made with materials that utilize fossil fuels for manufacturing and transport, and still plug into electrical grids that are powered partly by fossil fuels.

Until we can get alternative energy to a higher efficiency and adoption, the rates are going to continue to rise with the increased population of the Earth.

All countries need to decrease – significantly. Including America and China. Then CO2 will start to turn around.

While many countries are making efforts to cut back, the largest CO2-producing countries are slow to make the needed changes, if at all.

The use of fracking and discovery of huge natural gas veins in the US has led to a boom in natural gas usage in many countries. Because it’s so plentiful and cheap, transitions to renewable energies have slowed.

Continued deforestation and destruction of natural habitats across the world has significantly hindered nature’s ability to recycle the CO2 back into O2.

Lastly, because of global warming and ocean acidification, significantly more ice and permafrost are melting in polar regions than we can keep up with. Trapped in that ice and permafrost are massive quantities of CO2 which is now being released into the atmosphere. CO2 in polar ice samples are how we’ve measured average levels from across the millenia.

The world is at a tipping point, and unless we can convince all the nations of the world to achieve a carbon-neutral lifestyle in the next few decades. It could be too late.

You should probably investigate the carbon cycle – pollution is only one part in the beginning. There are natural sources of CO2 as well – these sources release CO2 into the atmosphere, which is then absorbed into the ocean (per carbon cycle). Normally the ocean takes care of the atmosphere CO2 levels but due to ocean acidification (too much CO2) it is ‘exceeding capacity’ and can’t filter as much.

So it is true that more and more renewable energy is being generated, but our population is also increasing, and poorer countries are starting to produce CO2 at the same rate as richer countries.

Richer countries are starting to use more renewables, but they can be expensive to build and they can’t always provide power as reliably as CO2 intensive options. Poorer countries (e.g. China, India) are becoming less poor, so more people are able to afford cars, afford to eat more energy intensive food, and afford to use more electricity. The hope is that wealthy countries will develop technologies and then those technologies will become cheaper over time and the rest of the world will be able to afford it.