Human CO2 emissions adds only 3-4% to total. Throwing-off the natural balance

CO2 emissions from human activities are small compared to what’s released by nature.

The Earth has a natural CO2 cycle that moves massive amounts of CO2into and out of the atmosphere. The oceans and land vegetation release and absorb over 200 billion metric tons of carbon into and out of the atmosphere each year.


When the cycle is balanced, atmospheric levels of CO2 remain relatively stable.

Human activities are now adding about 7 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year, which is only about 3-4% MORE than the amount exchanged naturally in the natural cycle.

But that’s enough to knock the system out of balance, stressing Nature’s ability to take our CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere.

The oceans and land vegetation are absorbing about half of our emissions; the other half remains airborne for 100 years or longer. This is what is causing the rapid buildup of CO2, a buildup that dwarfs natural fluctuations.

Source: NOAA: Earth System Research Laboratory Global Monitoring Division.





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Carbon Fast Facts