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Carbon dioxide is emitted naturally or by human activities. Natural ways of emitting carbon dioxide are mainly through the carbon cycle. Human beings emit carbon dioxide through activities like combustion of organic fuels.
The burning of oil, coal and gas and deforestation releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can increase in quantity thereby having adverse effects on the environment. It is therefore prudent enough to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide pollution so that environmental degradation does not occur.
This can be achieved by using alternative sources of energy. Alternative sources of energy include wind, solar and geothermal energy among others. The use of incentives to increase carbon credits is also a powerful tool in controlling the amount of carbon dioxide being emitted to the atmosphere. This paper discusses the ways in which carbon dioxide emission can be reduced to enhance sustainable environmental protection.
Carbon dioxide uses, storage and greenhouse emission
Carbon dioxide has many uses in the current world. It is used in the manufacture of edible substances such as in baking powders. Carbon dioxide is also used in the storage of beverages. It is used to produce carbonated beverages that include the soft drinks. Wines are also produced using the dry form of carbon dioxide gas. In other sectors, carbon dioxide is used as a pressurized gas in pneumatic systems. Many fire extinguishers are made of carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide is also used to oxidize many metals especially during welding. Pharmaceutical and other chemical processing industries also use carbon dioxide gas in manufacturing their products. The gas also finds its use in agriculture and other biological applications such as during photosynthesis and making of biodiesel. Other uses of carbon dioxide include making of lasers, in coal bed methane recovery, pH control, and as a refrigerant.
Human and natural carbon dioxide emission
Carbon dioxide emission by human beings is known to alter the natural equilibrium of the carbon cycle. This therefore, causes the global rise in temperatures, known as global warming. Carbon dioxide emission by human beings includes activities such as combustion of fossil fuels, and other industrial emissions. These activities add to the amount of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere thereby causing global warming and climate change (Oberthur & Ott, 1999).
The natural carbon dioxide emissions are many times more than the human ways of carbon dioxide emission. They are caused by the systematic mechanism of the carbon cycle. Carbon cycle is the biochemical cycle in which carbon dioxide is passed through the atmosphere, the rocks and soils and the hydrosphere of the earth. Some of this carbon escapes from the cycle thereby adding to the amount of carbon present in the atmosphere.
Ways to reduce carbon dioxide emission
Carbon dioxide emission can be reduced through internationally coordinated policy action. However, reaching such kinds of decisions is difficult because of the different interests of independent countries. There are also incentives for free riding of one country on the other. Solutions to carbon dioxide emissions should therefore lie in a set of policies that reduce costs by being efficient in achieving green house gas emission effects.
This can be achieved through policies such as quotas, taxes and joint implementation projects. Quotas are used to have an intuitive appeal since they focus on achieving particular targets or goals. However, in this method, fixed national quotas and emission reductions are likely to require reductions in some countries at higher costs than others.
Carbon taxes are set prices at which emission permits are sold. This method can also be a good solution to the problem of emission (Martin, 2000). It is also important for countries to develop national strategies to address carbon dioxide emissions through technology policy. However, It must be taken into account that such approaches require the contributors to become aware of the expected theoretical outcomes of emissions trading and of the spillages between these expected outcomes and the records (Kosobud, Schreder & Biggs, 2000).
Spillages in this sense are meant to refer to the failures. Carbon dioxide emission can also be reduced through advances in geological storage. This can be done through automated monitoring systems such that carbon dioxide is enclosed in a system that does not leak into the atmosphere. The storage system is usually an underground reservoir that is situated in a tectonically inactive geological terrain.
The other methods for reducing carbon dioxide emissions are through the use of alternative energy. Alternative energy includes the use of geothermal energy, solar energy, wind energy and biodiesel. These forms of energy are renewable and clean. In addition, natural gas can also be used to produce electricity.
This can be used to substitute for the coal so that less carbon dioxide is emitted to the atmosphere. Geothermal energy does not produce carbon dioxide during the process of its production. Biofuels are also a clean source of energy because they cause very little atmospheric pollution (Tickell, 2003). Wind energy and solar energy are also equally clean sources of energy that can be used as alternative sources.
Effects of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
Carbon dioxide has adverse effects on the atmosphere. For starters, carbon dioxide causes green house effect, a factor that is responsible for the increase in the atmospheric temperature. In the past, the ice age was characterized chiefly by lower temperatures and lower levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (American Geophysical Union, 2009).
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The toxicity of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is such that prolonged exposure to high concentrations of carbon dioxide can cause acidosis. In the body of a human being, high levels of carbon dioxide can cause diminished contractile force. Carbon dioxide also causes acid rain.
Acid rain is caused by the combination of carbon dioxide with rain water such that the product is weak carbonic acid. The weak carbonic acid erodes human made structures made of metal and concrete. High concentrations of carbon dioxide cause depletion of the ozone layer. The ozone layer is responsible for preventing the harmful ultraviolet rays from reaching the earth’s atmosphere. If this layer is depleted, the ultraviolet radiation will reach the earth’s atmosphere thereby causing cancer.
In conclusion, carbon dioxide emission can be caused either naturally or by the activities of human beings. High levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can cause adverse effects. These effects include depletion of the ozone layer. Ozone layer depletion causes infiltration of ultraviolet radiation through the earth’s atmosphere.
Ultraviolet radiation causes cancer. Carbon dioxide emission can be reduced by using cleaner sources of energy. They include geothermal energy, wind, and solar energy. Enactment of policies related to carbon trading and other policies can also help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emission in the atmosphere.
American geophysical Union (2009). The Discovery of Global Warming. Retrieved from https://history.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm
Kosobud, R. Schreder, D. & Biggs, H. (2000). Emissions Trading: Environmental Policy’s New Approach. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Martin, W. (2000). Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emission through Joint Implementation of Projects. California: The world Development Research Group.
Oberthur, S., & Ott, H. (1999). The Kyoto Protocol. International Climate Policy For The 21st Century. New York: Springer
Tickell, J. (2003). From The Fryer To The Fuel Tank: The Complete Guide To Using Vegetable Oil As An Alternative Fuel. New Orleans: Joshua Tickell Media Productions