In the last decade or so there have certainly been plenty of talks about carbon dioxide (CO2), particularly carbon dioxide emissions that are believed to be the main factor contributing to climate change and global warming impact. Does this make carbon dioxide a pollutant or not?
According to the U.S. environmental protection agency (EPA) carbon dioxide is pollutant, together with other greenhouse gases because primarily because of its role in contributing to climate change, and not because of any direct health effects (like this is the case with some other pollutants).
CO2 is indeed an essential ingredient of all life on our planet, a gas that humans exhale and plants inhale, the gas of vital importance for one of the most important processes on Earth- photosynthesis.
Carbon dioxide is no doubt a natural component of our atmosphere but in „normal levels“, meaning that branding CO2 as pollutant refers only to increased levels of CO2 in our atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide is thought by many scientists to be the greenhouse gas mostly responsible for climate change. The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the more heat gets trapped, leading to climate change and global temperature increase.
This means that carbon dioxide can even be considered as the main pollutant that is warming our planet, opening door for the future environmental disaster of enormous proportions.
In order to curb global warming world needs to decrease the level of CO2 emissions, and this can't be done without the transition to cleaner technologies (the ones emitting less CO2 and other greenhouse gases).
The higher than normal CO2 concentrations are big threat to our future. The scientists fear that the world could soon cross the point of no return (the global temperature increase of two degrees Celsius) after which climate change will become irreversible.
World has to find the way to significantly reduce the level of CO2 emissions, and whether this is done by switching to renewable energy or using different carbon capture and storage (CSS) techniques really doesn't matter much in the end, the most important thing is the result, namely less CO2 in our atmosphere.
If we were to significantly reduce the level of carbon emissions, up to a measure that would halt further climate change impact, then it wouldn’t be necessary to tag carbon dioxide as pollutant. But at this point of time, when carbon emissions continue to increase each year, carbon dioxide is with reason branded as one of the most harmful pollutants.