Record carbon emissions and extreme temperature changes leave our climate on the brink. According to estimates from the International Energy Agency, greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach. Much will depend on what happens to emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the future, since they can remain in the atmosphere for decades.
The rise exceeds the range of normal variability, negatively impacting on the goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius, which scientists say is the threshold for potentially “dangerous climate change”. Last year, a record 30.6 Gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere, mainly from the combustion of fossil fuels (gas, oil), an estimated annual rise of 1.6 Gt.
With prospects for our children’s future getting ever bleaker, a universal sustainable action plan must be devised in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and halt global warming. The Earth’s surface temperature may be 30-50% more sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide than has been previously reported and with more extreme temperature changes in the global mean, of possibly 15 degrees or more, concerned awareness must focus on participatory solutions now!
Dr. Charles Frederickson