“The growing evidence of climate change is forcing attention on carbon emissions and their reduction.” – Gordon Brown

Burning fossil fuels causes carbon dioxide to be emitted, which traps the heat in the atmosphere, and as a result, this causes the temperatures to rise, which is the primary reason for global warming.

As shown in the pie chart, the world’s top polluters are China (31%), India (7%), and the U.S. (14%), which accounts a total of 52% of the world’s CO₂. 422 billion metric tons of CO₂ have been released into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. The top 3 contributors of carbon dioxide emissions are however setting goals to reduce those emissions. The U.S. is targeting net-zero emissions by 2050, China is targeting Carbon Neutrality by 2060, and India by 2070 (Visual Capitalist, 2023). Net zero emissions means reducing greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere by oceans and forests. This can be achieved by replacing coal, gas and oil-fired power with energy from renewable sources, such as wind or solar energy, which dramatically reduces carbon emissions (United Nations, n.d.).

The Paris Agreement, an international treaty, which targets Climate Change, was signed by 196 countries in December 2015. The goal of which is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century. As per the Paris Agreement, all the countries are expected to submit an updated national climate action plan, which is the Nationally Determined Contribution. In the NDC, all the countries will communicate actions they will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will help them achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement (United Nations, n.d.).

As responsible citizens, we can all make some short-term immediate changes in order to reduce carbon emissions. For instance, let’s keep in mind to avoid single-use plastic products, turn off the lights and unplug gadgets if not in use. Then again, we can carpool, plant new trees, and restore old forests. Just remember, what we do today will help build a better tomorrow.

Works Cited:

Marcus Lu Article/Editing. Visualizing all the world’s carbon emissions by country. Visual Capitalist. (2023, November 9) https://www.visualcapitalist.com/carbon-emissions-by-country-2022/

United Nations. (n.d.). The Paris Agreement. United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/paris-agreement#:~:text=In%20their%20NDCs%2C%20countries%20communicate,the%20impacts%20of%20rising%20temperatures

United Nations. (n.d.-a). Net zero coalition. United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/net-zero-coalition#:~:text=Replacing%20polluting%20coal%2C%20gas%20and,would%20dramatically%20reduce%20carbon%20emissions