Important Metrics that Measure the Danger Timeline…
The World Meteorological Organization released a new report stating that the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere has reached a record high. According to scientists, the planet’s atmosphere had an average greenhouse gas concentration of 407.8 parts per million in 2018. This is an all time high and a significant increase from the 405.5 parts per million average from 2017.
These figures are not a natural occurrence, and they are indeed very dangerous. The last time the Earth had these levels of greenhouse gases trapped in its atmosphere was over three million years ago, and the climate then was certainly not hospitable for humankind.
The level of carbon dioxide amongst other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased tremendously since pre-industrial times, showing a direct correlation between human emissions and climate change. As more fossil fuels are burned on Earth, more carbon enters the sky, thus trapping heat and disrupting the environment.
Therefore, as emissions increase, we can expect the climate crisis to accelerate. Higher CO2 levels will take a greater burden on natural carbon drains like forests and oceans. Likewise, with the temperature spike, polar ice will melt quicker, sea levels will rise, air will dry up, and the world will face more severe natural disasters—the recent floods in Venice and fires in California are already evidence of this occurring.
Based on the way world leaders are responding to the climate crisis right now, it is unlikely that the trend of increased carbon emissions will be reversing itself anytime soon. As 2019—soon to be one of the hottest years on record—comes to a close, we can expect that the annual average amount of carbon in the atmosphere to go up yet again.
UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid will Address many issues, Including this Data
This unfortunate news comes at a pressing time, as the UN Climate Change Conference takes place next week in Madrid, Spain and will continue through December 15th. Currently there is a drastic gap between the world’s climate goals set in the 2015 Paris accord and the amount of actual progress that has taken place. The UN recently reported that global greenhouse gas emissions would need to drop 7.6 percent each year after 2020 in order to stabilize the atmosphere and reach the ambitions we settled on in Paris.
The UN’s proposition is directly antithetical to the emission-increasing trend that has been going on since the Industrial Revolution. It may seem like a reversing of progress, but it is a step that the world needs to take in order to maintain the human race. Nevertheless, it is still a step forward, by taking it the world will come up with new ways to solve problems and produce energy without burning fossil fuels.
Thus, even in these ecologically treacherous times, a shred of optimism remains. Rethinking our practices and prioritizing environmental conservation is not a suggestion, but a necessity in the modern era. But by making such changes, we will also be making innovations and continuing to grow. Despite the bleak horizon, if addressed properly, this challenge has the potential to bring out the very best of humanity.
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