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Earth’s Temperature and Carbon Dioxide Levels at All Time High

 Earth’s Temperature and Carbon Dioxide Levels at All Time High


Photo Credit: https://www.climate.gov interactive carbon dioxide tracker


In 2020, the planet saw a first in 800,000 years: over 415 parts-per-million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere. Since 1960 CO2 levels have steadily increased from 0.6 ppm every year to 2.3  ppm every year, about 100 times faster than natural rates. In April of 2021, the current concentration sits at 416 ppm, over 100 ppm more than the highest natural record. According to NASA’s Global Climate Change Website: “In many regions, warming has already surpassed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. More than one-fifth of all humans live in regions that have already seen warming greater than 1.5 degrees Celsius in at least one season. Climate-related risks were found to be generally higher at lower latitudes and for disadvantaged people and communities.” and  “The impacts of climate change haven’t been spread evenly around our planet and they won’t be in the future, either. Temperatures increase at different speeds everywhere.”  This could be a call for change, given that in just 2016 196 countries were signing the Paris Agreement which states “Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.” In a press release on May 27, 2021 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO): “This study shows – with a high level of scientific skill – that we are getting measurably and inexorably closer to the lower target of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It is yet another wakeup call that the world needs to fast-track commitments to slash greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas. Earth’s average temperature has always fluctuated, but there is clear evidence that the current upward trend coincides with CO2 levels and will not go down until CO2 levels do. After 1900, average temperature began to slowly rise until around 1950 when it dropped, but stayed mostly steady until 1980. After 1980 the average global temperature has nearly doubled. Previously expected to only reach 0.5C, it has reached 1.0 C. “Despite La Niña, 2020 ranked as the second-warmest year in the 141-year record for the combined land and ocean surface, and land areas were hottest on record.” Says Climate.gov. By 2050 the Earth is predicted to rise to an average temperature of 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels, but this does not mean that time is on our side. “Human-induced global warming has already caused multiple observed changes in the climate system (high confidence). Changes include increases in both land and ocean temperatures, as well as more frequent heatwaves in most land regions (high confidence). There is also (high confidence) global warming has resulted in an increase in the frequency and duration of marine heatwaves.” According to an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, report. 


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