HKNIC - Emissions

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Burning fossil fuels for electricity generation produces a large quantity of gaseous emissions:
Emissions Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas, which at around its current level of concentration in the atmosphere, has been essential to maintaining the present temperature on Earth and so making it habitable
Emissions Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is a cause of acid rain, although it also forms sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere which helps reduce some of the greenhouse effect from carbon dioxide
Emissions Nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulates are health hazards and irritants. Nitrous oxide is also a greenhouse gas
Emissions that come directly from burning fuels for electricity generation are called direct emissions. They have been increasing in line with economic development and are expected to continue to increase in the future.
World carbon dioxide emissions by fuel type


Source: US EIA 2006 and 2013

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has attributed carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use as the main cause of increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, with changing land use as a significant but smaller contribution. Carbon dioxide concentrations have increased from about 280 parts per million (ppm) before the Industrial Revolution to 400ppm in early 2015. The figure is far higher than the natural range over the last 650,000 years of 180 ppm to 300 ppm, as determined from the study of ice cores, and the climate effects will likely be profound.