Greenhouse gas flowchart


in Daily updates, Science, The environment

Terry Fox statue

The World Resources Institute has produced an excellent flowchart showing the activities that generate greenhouse gas emissions and the magnitude of those flows in terms of CO2 equivalence.

The data is from 2000, but I would expect the relative magnitudes to be reasonably similar now. This graphic provides a powerful and intuitive view into where the problem lies, and suggests areas where the greatest improvements could be made.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Litty August 28, 2007 at 11:59 am

A nice graphic, indeed. It looks very biological.

Neal August 29, 2007 at 3:43 pm

Two things about this graph surprised me: one was the massive effect of deforestation. Clearly this should be one of the most immediate and major concerns. The second is agriculture. I was completely unaware of the scale of outgassing of nitrous oxide from soils. I also seriously overestimated the carbon emissions of industrial agriculture. Given the large share of emissions that transportation is responsible for, I wonder what share of that is used transporting food.

. February 5, 2008 at 10:53 am

Climate forcing from the transport sectors

Although the transport sector is responsible for a large and growing share of global emissions affecting climate, its overall contribution has not been quantified. We provide a comprehensive analysis of radiative forcing from the road transport, shipping, aviation, and rail subsectors, using both past- and forward-looking perspectives. We find that, since preindustrial times, transport has contributed {approx}15% and 31% of the total man-made CO2 and O3 forcing, respectively. A forward-looking perspective shows that the current emissions from transport are responsible for {approx}16% of the integrated net forcing over 100 years from all current man-made emissions. The dominating contributor to positive forcing (warming) is CO2, followed by tropospheric O3. By subsector, road transport is the largest contributor to warming. The transport sector also exerts cooling through reduced methane lifetime and atmospheric aerosol effects. Shipping causes net cooling, except on future time scales of several centuries. Much of the forcing from transport comes from emissions not covered by the Kyoto Protocol.

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