What are the main sources of $\ce{CO2}$ emission to the atmosphere? I know that the answer would probably be from the electricity sector and transportation but wouldn't most of the carbon dioxide produced from power plant be captured and stored by the CCS technology? Is it because not all the plants has the CCS technology to capture the $\ce{CO2}$? Or are there any scenario where CCS technology cannot be used e.g cars?

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    $\begingroup$ It seems like you are assuming most power plants have CCS. Quite the opposite. see globalcarbonproject.org and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$
    – f.thorpe
    Sep 2, 2015 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ Do you know the reason why? Is it because of the cost? $\endgroup$
    – Innocent98
    Sep 3, 2015 at 2:59
  • $\begingroup$ There are many reasons... first of all your production goes down due to the increased energy cost of trapping CO2 and converting to liquid. Second there aren't many places that are sited where CO2 could be injected underground safely. Third, it's a new technology still being developed... mainly it is used as a test project. Fourth, there is a lot of animosity because it isn't considered a viable climate solution by many people. $\endgroup$
    – f.thorpe
    Sep 6, 2015 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


These are from the EPA's site for 2013. The top is USA emissions and the bottom, global. I guess that's the most recent year for which they have complete results. And you're right; electricity and transportation account for 58% of total CO2 emissions.
Source: EPA, USA

EPA, Global
The site is available here.

  • $\begingroup$ Isn't this only for US emissions? I am not sure one can extrapolate to the rest of the world. $\endgroup$ Sep 2, 2015 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, you're right! I'll see if I can track down global data. $\endgroup$
    – BillDOe
    Sep 2, 2015 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ It should be pointed out that the by far largest source of CO2 in the atmosphere is actually the natural source. According to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth's_atmosphere, only around 3% of the global CO2 emissions are anthropogenic. $\endgroup$
    – Christoph
    Sep 3, 2015 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ According to an article here: skepticalscience.com/… humans contribute 29 gigatons of the 750 gigatons of CO2 moving through the atmosphere each year. That works out to about 3.86%. $\endgroup$
    – BillDOe
    Sep 3, 2015 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Christoph The much larger amount of natural CO2 is part of a cycle, it's both added and removed largely in balance every year, so the net added by nature is much smaller. The sizable majority of net added CO2 at the end of almost any given 12 month period is man made, not natural. $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Aug 9, 2018 at 13:47

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