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Atmospheric CO2 Hits Record Levels While UK Emissions Drop: Carbon Tax Lesson 101

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The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen to an all-time level high as the United Kingdom reported a record low of their CO2 emissions.

Is this the classic case of bad news and good news? Or could it be an argument to bolster the need for action to curb carbon emission?

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the CO2 levels have increased to three parts per million for the last two years bringing the total concentration to 405 parts in a million.

Breaking The 400 Level Threshold

Observation stations worldwide have recorded the rise of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

The average rate is 2.4 parts in a million for the last decade, Dr. Pieter Tans of the Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases group at NOAA said.

Two years ago, climate change scientists have recorded the monthly average exceeding 400 parts per million.

It was the first time the level had exceeded the 400 mark which was considered symbolic of the findings that human activity is the major cause of global warming. Until the industrial revolution, the CO2 level was at 280 parts per million.

Post-400 Level

The level of CO2 in the atmosphere has been rising after it breached the 400 level in 2015.

Even in September of last year when CO2 levels were at its lowest, the monthly average remained above the threshold. The new NOAA data is an indication that the atmospheric CO2 levels are continually growing.

The suggestion that human-caused carbon emissions have steadied for the last three years has no significant effect to the overall situation as billions of tons of greenhouse gasses have been poured into the atmosphere annually.

UK's At Record Low

While in the UK, the climate science and policy website Carbon Brief released new data indicating a decrease of CO2 output to a new low as coal usage has declined by almost 40 percent below the 1990 levels.

The pollution level in 2016 due to carbon dioxide was at the level of 381m tons, according to Carbon Brief.

UK scientists said this figure is the lowest since at the end of 19th century.

Behind The Fall

Analysts have identified several factors which have driven the decline of coal usage to 74 percent since a decade ago.

These factors include lower prices of gas, carbon taxes, and the expansion of possible sources of renewable energy. The overall drop in the demand for energy and closure of big manufacturing operations had also contributed to the fall.

Of all the factors, the analysis concluded, the one with far-reaching effect is the carbon tax which was doubled to £18 ($22) per ton of CO2 in 2015.

The Lesson Of Carbon Tax

Carbon tax or CTax stands for carbon dioxide tax. It can also be called carbon pollution tax.

The concept behind CTax is to let the fossil fuel users pay for the destruction they have caused to the environment that led to global warming. This measure is seen as deterrence for companies to go into fossil fuel.

Taxing CO2 emissions involved the imposition of taxes when the fuel is extracted or being imported.

It is hoped, as the UK experience has shown, that the reduction of the use of fossil will ultimately result in the reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

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