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Sources of Carbon Dioxide

The major source of carbon dioxide comes from the burning of fossil fuels. In 2004, the UK emissions of carbon dioxide were over 150 million tonnes. That would cover a football pitch to a height of 157 kilometres!

The Kyoto protocol was an agreement made in 1997, and finally ratified in 2005, that commits participating countries to reducing their greenhouse gas emission. As a baseline level, each country's 1990 greenhouse gas emissions were chosen. The UK has pledged to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 60% of 1990 levels over the next 45 years.

The gases included are methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and fluorocarbons. Currently they do not include emissions from aircraft.

The UK is currently likely to reduce emissions by 15-18% of 1990 levels by 2010.

In February, 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted:

"If we keep emitting greenhouse gases at current rates we will see bigger changes this century than we did in the previous century. The amount of warming will depend on choices human beings make."


Sources of carbon dioxide
Presentation illustrating where carbon dioxide comes from
What is carbon dioxide?
Pupil practical activities illustrating some properties of carbon dioxide gas
How cars make carbon dioxide
Presentation about making motor fuel from oil

Link to text desription of Graph: UK Carbon dioxide emissions by source (2004)


Information from the UK Government review: Climate Change: The UK Programme 2006.

See also Food Miles and Carbon Dioxide to see the contribution made by food.

Please note: this site was produced in 2006, and is no longer updated. As a result, some of the figures may be out of date.