Slide 25: Greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is of particular importance when studying anthropogenic climate change. AS can be seen in the graph, CO2 levels were relatively stable over the last thousand years, until the advent of the industrial revolution. Carbon dioxide is emitted by all combustion, particularly fossil fuels used for engine fuels and energy generation.
Burning of forests also emits CO2, as well as reducing their capacity for carbon sequestration.
At this stage CO2 is the largest anthropogenic contribution to climatic forcing. Levels are higher than at any time in the past 450 000 years.
The rate of COs accumulation was very low over the period from 1765 to 1900, but more than doubled in the next sixty years, and almost doubled again in the following thirty
Forcing increase relative to 1765 (Wm-2):
1900 1960 1970 1980 1990
0.37 0.79 0.96 1.20 1.50