Ecommit contributes to the climate transition by supporting SMEs in offsetting their CO2 emissions. But what is CO2 actually?
CO2, or carbon dioxide, is a gas that occurs naturally in the earth's atmosphere. And which, along with other so-called greenhouse gases, keep the earth's temperature from dropping to minus 18 degrees Celsius.
The earth receives radiant energy from the sun which it converts into light and heat radiation. Because CO2 and some other gases absorb infrared radiation from the earth, they cause heat from the earth to be retained in the lower atmosphere. This is called the greenhouse effect, because a similar effect occurs in a greenhouse: short-wave radiation can enter where it is converted into long-wave radiation, which can no longer escape.
The vast majority of CO2 emissions arise from natural processes: think of forest fires and emissions from volcanoes, but also the release of CO2 from the interaction between the atmosphere and oceans. Around 6% of total CO2 emissions come from human activity. Of which the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and gas, and the production of cement and fertilizers, account for the largest emissions.
Nature also has opportunities to remove released CO2 back from the atmosphere, thus maintaining the balance. Chief among these are CO2 absorption by green plants, trees, seas and oceans.
Of the 6% CO2 that humans add to the natural cycle through the burning of fossil fuels, two percentage points is offset by permanent absorption in the ocean's deeper waters. The rest, over the years, has led to an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. And thus to a gradual warming of atmosphere and earth.
2 minutes read
16 May, 2023