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Sources of Carbon dioxide- Transport

Globally, transport related emissions of carbon dioxide are growing rapidly. The use of petroleum as a fossil fuel for transportation dominates carbon dioxide emissions from this source.

In 1999, in the US, more than 30 percent of fossil fuel related carbon dioxide emissions were a direct result of transportation. With about two-thirds of this being from petrol consumption by motor vehicles and the remainder coming from diesel and jet fuel use in lorries and aircraft, respectively.

As well as a rapid increase in worldwide motor vehicle use, the use of catalytic convertors in many vehicles has led to increased carbon dioxide emissions or at least some off-setting of the benefits gained by increased engine efficiencies.

Human Impact

Carbon dioxide emissions arising from transport are a very emotive issue. The majority of people make regular use of some form of transport which runs on fossil fuel and produces greenhouse gases. For many, life without a car seems unbearable and cannot be countenanced.

The falling price of national and international flights has also led to an explosion in air traffic in recent years, with air travel being one of the most greenhouse gas rich forms of transport in existence.

Potential for control

Within the last few years the UK has already been brought to a standstill by panic buying of petrol, with the government having to abandon any kind of strong environmental stance on car use in the face of a furious public. The fact remains though, that transport constitutes a large component of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

If we are ever to truly tackle human-induced global warming then cuts in transport related emissions have to be made and our love affair with oil ended. Technological advances are continuing to cut emissions, but at the same time car, lorry and airplane use is escalating. The issue of greenhouse gas emissions from transport is likely to be one of the most fiercely fought battle grounds of environmental reform during this century.


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