The numbers don’t add up

Right now we are emitting roughly 40 billion tons of CO2 every year into the atmosphere. And this number continues to increase.

 

The oceans can’t keep up

While it’s true that the oceans can absorb CO2 – they can only handle about 30-50% of the emissions generated by fossil fuels each year. What's more, the current overload of CO2 is causing something called “acidification” – which is creating a harsh habitat for sea life. Because of acidification, scientists say the pH level of the oceans is “probably lower than any time in the last 2 million years.”

 

The trees can’t keep up

It’s also true that trees can absorb CO2, but it takes 50-100 trees just to offset the CO2 generated by one person in a year. And there’s a bigger problem: deforestation is actually the cause of 11% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. In short, it’s impossible for our oceans and trees to keep up.

 

Let’s look at it in terms of big blue balloons

On average, each person on the planet emits an average of 5 tons per each year. One ton of CO2 gas fits into a balloon with a diameter of 10 meters (roughly 32 feet). That’s 110 million balloons, or tons, per day. If we covered New York with these balloons, just one day of emissions would bury the Empire State Building.

Love interactive graphs as much as we do?
Check out this one that Bloomberg put together with information from NASA.