What are Carbon Emissions?
Written By: Maya Ardon
Edited By: Vanessa Lu Langley
Carbon dioxide is one of the most important greenhouse gasses and is the focus of the clean energy transition. Carbon is naturally emitted through natural interactions in the carbon cycle; CO2 is exchanged between oceans and the atmosphere, and life on Earth emits CO2 through respiration. The concern, however, lies in the way that human activities disrupt the natural carbon cycle and emit more CO2 than can be absorbed and fixed by natural systems. Thus, reducing (and eventually eradicating) activities that emit carbon dioxide, such as the burning of fossil fuels, is an important step towards fighting climate change – returning to a point where we can achieve the overall natural balance of GHG inputs and outputs.
This is the goal of reaching net-zero. The clean energy transition aims to decarbonize the energy sector. This would mean transitioning from activities that rely on fossil fuels to activities that operate on energy sources that do not contribute to carbon emissions. Reaching net-zero is important in order to offset the devastating impacts of climate change (United Nations).
For a livable climate: Net-zero commitments must be backed by credible action. United Nations (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2021 from https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/net-zero-coalition