The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that human activity is responsible for more than a third of the total increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since the Industrial Revolution, according to a new analysis by the agency’s CarbonTracker website.
That equates to an increase in CO2 levels of more than 20,000 parts per million.
That number is higher than the EPA’s estimate of nearly 18,000 ppm for CO2 in the air.
The analysis comes on the heels of a March report by the U.S. Geological Survey that showed carbon dioxide levels were rising at an accelerated rate.
In addition, the EPA report found that emissions from burning fossil fuels, such as coal, were increasing at a faster rate than emissions from other sources.
In a statement, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said that the EPA will continue to work with the federal government and private sector to address this issue.
“In order to help protect the public, EPA will require the use of anaerobic digestion (AD) technologies to remove methane from the air and reduce the concentration of CO2,” Pruitt said.
“These technologies will be phased in over time.”
According to the EPA, AD emissions are a natural byproduct of coal burning and other sources of fossil fuels.
In the first half of 2019, the agency estimated that AD emissions accounted for between 11 percent and 20 percent of the annual increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
The agency said the latest EPA study “provides new information about how methane and other emissions contribute to the overall climate change that we are experiencing.”
“This is the first time that the agency has estimated the effect of these emissions on climate,” Pruitt added.