More than 40% of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions actually come from energy we use every day - at home and when we travel.
To generate that energy, we burn fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) that produce greenhouse gases - in particular carbon dioxide (CO2). Car emissions are a huge problem but the truth is that more CO2 comes from the energy we use at home. The average household creates around five and a half tonnes of CO2 a year, and it's that same CO2 that's changing our climate and damaging the environment.
In 2007, total UK CO2 emissions were 543 million tonnes. 26% (142 million tonnes) of those emissions came from the energy we use to heat, light and power our homes. Our transport emissions caused by passenger cars, buses and mopeds and motorcycles account for a further 17% (91 million tonnes) of CO2 emissions.
2005 UK CO2 emissions came to 554 million tonnes
CO2 and various other gases wrap the earth in an invisible blanket helping to prevent heat from escaping. Without this greenhouse effect, the average temperature on Earth would be around -18ºC, compared with the current average of around +15ºC. The composition of this blanket of gases has remained relatively constant for many thousands of years.
Since the industrial revolution began around 200 years ago, people have been burning growing amounts of fossil fuels - releasing more CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the process. This has increased the heating effect of the blanket, trapping more of the sun's energy inside our atmosphere. In turn the Earth's temperature has increased more rapidly in a shorter period of time than it has for thousands of years.
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