To understand who should become more sustainable, we need to look at some statistics.
By evaluating the total greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 of the U.S. as depicted in (1.1), it becomes apparent that in the U.S. the biggest source for CO2 emission is Transportation with 29% (total emissions: 6500 million metric tons CO2e). Also, in Europe, the main source for greenhouse gas emissions is Transportation with 27% of emissions as stated in (1.2), followed by electricity and heat production with 25% which strongly results from electricity generation with coal factories as described in (1.3) (total emissions: 2935 million metric tons in 2019).
Compared to the U.S. and EU, the Transportation sector only causes 15% of the total global CO2 emissions on average as shown in (1.4). However, for the global community to act against global warming and climate change unitedly, additionally to transportation the production of electricity and heat that dominate the global greenhouse gas emission statistics with 31% of the emissions needs a sustainable transformation.
If we think about these numbers, we can see that the improvements of technologies and the increased wealth around the globe lead to a big problem for our environment. To supply the increasing electricity demand in our homes and factories based on new and cheap technologies, energy-producing institutions were built. Most of them unfortunately are producing electricity and heat from coal, which leads to a tremendous emission of CO2.
So in our opinion, the first area that needs to become more sustainable is the production of electricity and heat. Because even if we fill the roads with electric-driven vehicles, they will need electricity for charging. A lot of electricity. If this mainly will come from coal sources, the CO2 emissions will further increase. The second area that needs to become more sustainable and already started to change is the transportation sector. Vehicles need to become carbon neutral while they are used. The problem here is that the production of important components will always produce high amounts of CO2. With the usage of recycled material, this problem can be minimized and bring us to a more sustainable future.
To finish this topic we want to underline that every change in the industry can help but nothing will be able to help more than the change of our mindsets as humans. We need to be careful about the amount of energy we burn for non-sense actions. We need to change our consumption and our core values. If billions of people consume less meat, take public transportation, turn the lights off if it is not needed, and shut the TV down rather than having it on standby, that will make the biggest change that can secure the future of our children and the upcoming generations.
1.1) IEA. CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion, 2018 Highlights. Available online: https://www.c2es.org/content/u-s-emissions/ (accessed on 03 November 2021).
1.2) STATISTA. Distribution of carbon dioxide emissions in the European Union in 2019. Available online: https://www.statista.com/statistics/999398/carbon-dioxide-emissions-sources-european-union-eu/ (accessed on 03 November 2021).
1.4) IEA. CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion, 2019 Highlights. Available online: https://www.c2es.org/content/international-emissions/ (accessed on 03 November 2021).