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What Industrial Sector Produces the Most Greenhouse Gases? The Answer Might Surprise You

The past few decades have seen massive growth rates for most world economies which is great because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up making it so that the people living in these countries can start to take part in better overall lifestyles. However, this has also resulted in an increase in the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses being produced which is directly causing global warming.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that the biggest culprit when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions is actually the energy industry. Almost three quarters of our total yearly emissions, or 73.2% to be precise, come from the energy that we use. That has a fair bit to do with our over-reliance on fossil fuels and the like, something that indicates that reducing our reliance on fossil fuels can do a lot to avert the impending climate catastrophe.

A lot of people seem to blame aviation as the biggest contributor to transport related greenhouse gas emissions, but suffice it to say that that is not the case at all. Rather, the single biggest contributor to this sort of thing is road based transportation which accounts for over 11% of total greenhouse gas emissions in any given year. The second biggest creator of greenhouse gasses is residential energy use, or in other words the electricity that we use to power our homes in various ways at any given point in time.

Aviation only accounts for about 1.9% of total greenhouse gasses, so the first areas that should be tackled here are road transportation and at home energy use, both of which are relatively easy to fix. People can start using solar power at home and electric vehicles on the road, both of which are cleaner and produce fewer emissions although they are not completely emission free at all with all things having been considered and taken into account. Still, switching to them would at the very least be a step in the right direction.

Anywhere from 60-80% of the world’s total energy usage occurs in big cities and the like. Hence, focusing on providing alternative energy solutions to big cities could be the quickest way to reduce the carbon footprint of our species. There are several roadblocks that could end up getting in the way of that, but that doesn’t change the fact that doing so is downright necessary. Changing the manner in which cities are designed can also be valuable since it can make people less reliant on cars in general and they might need to use less electricity in their homes on a day to day basis as well.

Another thing that should be focused on is reducing our overall use of livestock in our diets because they contribute 5.8% of total greenhouse gas emissions which is higher than aviation, ship travel and railway travel combined. However, agricultural soil contributes 4.1% of emissions as well, so there is a give and take here that would need to be addressed so that proposed solutions are holistic and can actually help reduce emissions without reducing quality of life at the same time.


H/T: Our World In Data.

Read next: How Shipping and Commodity Fluctuations Are Putting the Future of Clean Energy in Peril

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