What Are Carbon Emissions? 

Carbon, in its most basic form, is an element. It’s the most common element for life on Earth! Carbon can be found just about everywhere on Earth—in the air, the soil, the oceans, and even inside our bodies. Carbon helps plants convert sunlight into food to grow. When we talk about carbon emissions, we are focusing specifically on carbon dioxide or CO2.  

Why Are Carbon Emissions A Problem? 

CO2 is one of the greenhouse gases that absorb radiation and prevent heat from escaping our atmosphere. This excess heat creates disrupted weather patterns, higher global temperature averages in the climate, storm severity, melting ice caps, consistency of rain, and more intense droughts and wildfires are the destructive results. These affect the lives of animals, plants, crops, and people.  

What are the 4 main greenhouse gases? 

What is Carbon?

What Causes The Most Carbon Emissions? 

Carbon Emissions by sector

Natural sources include decomposition, ocean release and respiration. Human sources come from activities like cement production, transportation, deforestation as well as the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. 

Globally, the primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions are electricity and heat (31%), agriculture (11%), transportation (15%), forestry (6%) and manufacturing (12%)1. Energy production accounts for 73% of all emissions. 

What are 3 ways to reduce carbon pollution? 

Energy Usage: 

Energy management is the key to reducing carbon pollution. Globally, energy makes up 80% of GHG and 73% of Carbon pollution. Energy use is growing at 1.8% per year to support the global economy and is expected to grow an additional 50% by 2035 (IEA, 2012). To meet the growing need for electricity while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the amount of carbon released per unit of electricity production must fall 75% by 2050. 

Energy consumption is not going away anytime soon. The industrial, residential and commercial sectors are the primary electricity users, covering 92% of usage. Industry is the largest consumer of the three because specific manufacturing processes are very energy intensive. Specifically, the production of chemicals, iron/steel, cement, aluminum as well as pulp and paper account for the great majority of industrial electricity use. 2 

While we work towards newer, cleaner technologies, managing our energy will help reduce your carbon footprint and conserve natural resources used to power the power plants. In addition, less demand for energy creates less need for fossil fuels. From an economic standpoint, it’s critical to manage your energy habits as resources are becoming increasingly scarce and expensive. Businesses and our lifestyles can be sustained by making minor tweaks and educating ourselves on energy efficiency. 


The transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions annually, emitting over a ton of carbon dioxide equivalent pollution per passenger. Over 90% of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum-based, which includes gasoline and diesel primarily. This also contains small amounts of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). To break it down, road transport (cars and trucks) accounts for 82%, Aircraft account for 10%, and ships account for 2%. 3 

There are a variety of opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation. 

  • Using public transportation that are fueled by compressed natural gas rather than gasoline or diesel. 
  • Using electric or hybrid automobiles, provided that the energy is generated from lower-carbon or non-fossil fuels. 
  • Using renewable fuels such as low-carbon biofuels. 


Agriculture and Carbon Emissions

Food and agriculture is another top emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for about a third of the problem. Agriculture emits all three greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N20). Agriculture also removes CO2 from the atmosphere – croplands and grazing lands can be managed to remove and store large amounts of CO2 in the soil. Emissions from livestock stem from enteric fermentation (cow burps), manure management and crops fed to animals. Reduction of emissions by livestock can be achieved by improvement in feed compounds and manure management.

Consumers can make a difference in reducing emissions linked to the food and agriculture industry as well. Purchase from local growers to minimize transportation emissions. Limiting food waste, recycling and composting will also help the impact agriculture has on the environment. Governments, businesses and consumers all have a role to play in reducing emissions.

In the greenhouse industry, reductions can be achieved by monitoring energy usage.  Energy is typically the second largest expense for greenhouses, and contrary to popular belief, it is not a fixed cost. Savings can be found by reviewing energy usage and identifying areas of improvement. Through 360 Energy’s Energy and Carbon Analytics, our team of analysts are experts in reviewing energy usage and providing a baseline to identify areas for improvement.  Our clients have leveraged this information to find energy cost savings of 20%

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