Carbon Dioxide Is Essential For Life On Earth Essay

Carbon Dioxide Is Essential For Life On Earth Essay

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Carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced either by natural sources, such as volcanic eruptions or human activities like deforestation that influence CO2 concentration levels. CO2 is essential for life on earth; therefore, it is important to regulate CO2 concentration levels derived from human activities. Further, the increases of CO2 exerted into the earth’s atmosphere for the past several thousand years are attributed to many CO2 sources induced by humans.
CO2 Concentrations
The Mauna Loa Observatory, with the support of Department of Energy, maintains data regarding CO2 atmospheric concentration measurements (The Keeling Curve, n.d.). On November 3, 2015, the recorded CO2 concentration was 398.74 ppm. Analysis from the last month reflects near similar CO2 concentration levels throughout the month. However, this does not hold true for data recorded from 450,000 years ago. According to the Keeling Curve (n.d.), the CO2 concentrations from 450,000 years ago revealed approximately 210 ppm, or 47% lower than present day.
CO2 Sources
CO2 is naturally present in the atmosphere, known as the carbon cycle. Natural occurring CO2 comes from volcanoes and decaying plants and animals (Where Does Carbon Dioxide Come From?, n.d.). However, human induced activities can alter the natural carbon cycle, to include how the atmosphere absorbs the CO2 (Overview of Greenhouse Gases, 2015). Scientists assert that the majority of CO2 emissions is attributed to human activities, up to 82% (Where Does Carbon Dioxide Come From?, n.d.). The three human sources that contribute to the global warming process by means of CO2 emissions: burning fossil fuels, cement production, and deforestation.
Fossil Fuels
The largest human source of carbon dioxide emissio...


... middle of paper ...


...est human source of CO2 emissions is the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and gas. Further, human contributions of deforestation is a devastating two pronged effect in that when humans burn forests it produces increases of CO2 emissions and the removal of trees and plants reduces CO2 absorption by removing the photosynthesis cycle that absorbs CO2 and generates oxygen. The photosynthesis process accounts for half of the carbon extracted from the atmosphere (Global Climate Change and Energy Carbon Dioxide Sources, 2015). As evidenced, both fossil fuel combustion and deforestation equally contribute as the largest impact to CO emissions; resulting of an imbalance of the carbon cycle. The imbalance of the carbon cycle influences global warming that will result in increase in temperatures, rise in sea levels, severe storms, and animal and plant extinction.

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