Metabolic CO2 Release by Humanity

The combined CO2 metabolic sources have increased 7 fold since pre-industrial times.
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The direct CO2 released by respiration of humans and domesticated animals, as well as CO2 derived from the decomposition of their resulting wastes was calculated in order to ascertain the direct and indirect metabolic contribution of humanity to CO2 release. Human respiration was estimated to release 0.6 GtC year−1 and that of their associated domestic animals was estimated to release 1.5 Gt C year−1, to which an indirect release of 1.0 Gt C year−1, derived from decomposition of the organic waste and garbage produced by humans and their domestic animals, must be added.

These combined direct and indirect metabolic sources, estimated at 3.1 GtC year−1, have increased 7 fold since pre-industrial times and are predicted to continue to rise over the 21st century.

Y. T. Prairie (1) and C. M. Duarte (2)

1. D´epartement des sciences biologiques, Universit´e du Qu´ebec `a Montr´eal, Case postale 8888, succ. Centre-Ville, Montr´eal, H3C 3P8, Canada
2. IMEDEA (CSIC-UiB), Instituto Mediterr´aneo de Estudios Avanzados, C/ Miquel Marqu´es 21, 07190 Esporles (Mallorca), Spain

Received: 26 October 2006 – Published in Biogeosciences Discuss.: 21 November 2006
Revised: 19 March 2007 – Accepted: 27 March 2007 – Published: 10 April 2007

Direct & Indirect Metabolic CO2 Release by Humanity

Whereas metabolic CO2 release maybe far less amenable to change than emissions derived from deforestation, cement production or fossil fuel use, different human choices can affect human metabolic CO2 release.

The indirect metabolic CO2 release may be reduced through the promotion of behavioral changes to reduce the per capita consumption of meat and organic waste production, and the direct metabolic CO2 release may be reduced by adjusting human ingestion to requirements, avoiding the excess food ingestion affecting much of the population in developed societies, and that represents a health hazard as well, responsible for more than 1 in 10 deaths in the EU and USA (Banegas et al., 2003).

Direct & Indirect Metabolic CO2 Release by Humanity