How Long Does CO2 Remain In The Atmosphere?


July 12, 2022

Once it’s added to the atmosphere, CO2 hangs around, for a long time: between 300 to 1,000 years. Thus, as humans change the atmosphere by emitting CO2, those changes will endure on the timescale of many human lives.

I don't read about the cumulative CO2 emissions often, perhaps because it doesn't tell a good story for the US and the EU. See the above graphic. In a perfect world, it would make sense that the US and EU would lead the way in reducing CO2 emissions as we are the ones that have contributed the most to the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere. (Note the graphic is through 2011; I could not quickly find an updated version.). Not a perfect world.

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