The pandemic had a positive effect in terms of pollution, as there were many sectors that had to slow down or put a short pause on their activities. But in 2021 business started to move again. As a result, we see a rise in the carbon footprint again and need to bring back the focus on what can be done to improve the situation.
Transportation is the highest polluting sector
In 2021 transportation was the most polluting sector with 1803 million metric tons of carbon dioxide polluting our air. Such a tendency shows in countries all over the world. In the previous decade, the CO2 emissions were led by the energy sector, however, the changes in global temperature and people movements made the world focus on renewable energy sources for electricity, heating, and all other household needs.
The second most carbon emissions in the US are produced by the electric power sector with 1551 million metric tons of carbon emission. The switch to more renewable energy sources happened in 2016 when the understanding and modern architecture turned to more renewable sources.
The industrial sector comes third as the most polluting for the US environment with 1364 million metric tons of CO2. This includes all the manufacturing, construction, chemicals, food processing and mining companies. In addition the industrial sector makes up about one quarter of total U.S. electricity sales. Then followed by a bigger gap from the most polluting sectors, are residential (922 Mmt) and commercial sectors (783 Mmt) that generate greenhouse gas emissions mainly by for heating, waste and use of certain products.
Clean energy change
Now positive changes are implemented in all sectors. Using renewable energy, and turning to sustainable solutions such as letting go of plastic and single-use products make a huge change to our ecological footprint. Some companies are even aiming for goals to become zero-emission companies.
The question remains how fast will the change happen in the transportation sector, as it highly depends on the individuals. Switching from petrol cars to electric or at least hybrid options is a costly change for now.
Find out your daily commute carbon emissions with our interactive calculator