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Dahr Jamail | For the First Time in Human Existence, CO2 Rates Break Records Two Years in a Row

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report
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(Photo: Otodo; Edited: LW / TO)(Photo: Otodo; Edited: LW / TO)

If current trends continue, by the end of this year the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere will have reached a record rate of between 3.2 to 3.55 parts per million (ppm). 2015 also saw a record rate of atmospheric CO2 increase of 3.05ppm.

For perspective, the 1980s and 1990s witnessed annual CO2 increases in the atmosphere of roughly 1.5ppm each year, a rate which had increased roughly 30 percent to 2ppm annually by the 2000s. In other words, thus far, the 2010s are seeing an average rate that will mark another huge increase, to around 2.5ppm annually.

Prior to the dramatic increases we witnessed last year and this year, humans had never seen two consecutive years of record rapid rates of atmospheric CO2 concentration increase.

Meanwhile, in September, the Earth reached a level of 400ppm CO2 in the atmosphere, and that level is here to stay, according to scientists. This benchmark signifies a new era for the planet.

To see more stories like this, visit "Planet or Profit?"

By next year, the average amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will reach levels not seen since 15 million years ago, during which time seas were roughly 80 feet higher than they are today.

More Records Set

Recent years have seen global CO2 emissions at or near record highs, and there is nothing to indicate this trend will change.

In 1998, global CO2 emissions clocked in at approximately 26 billion tons annually, but by 2015 that amount had escalated to approximately 36 billion tons annually.

The election of Donald Trump as the next US president foreshadows a bleak short-term future, when it comes to emissions. Trump's climate disruption denialism, coupled with policies clearly aimed at increasing fossil fuel production throughout the US, means that we can expect new records to be set in the coming years.

15 million years ago, when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were as high as they've just become, global temperatures were between 3-4 Celsius warmer than they are today.

NASA figures show 2016 well on track to become the hottest year ever recorded.

Psst! In the wake of the election, independent media is more important than ever. Can you make a donation to support the publication of more stories like this one?

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Dahr Jamail

Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last 10 years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon.

Dahr Jamail is the author of the book, The End of Ice, forthcoming from The New Press. He lives and works in Washington State.


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Dahr Jamail | For the First Time in Human Existence, CO2 Rates Break Records Two Years in a Row

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

(Photo: Otodo; Edited: LW / TO)(Photo: Otodo; Edited: LW / TO)

If current trends continue, by the end of this year the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere will have reached a record rate of between 3.2 to 3.55 parts per million (ppm). 2015 also saw a record rate of atmospheric CO2 increase of 3.05ppm.

For perspective, the 1980s and 1990s witnessed annual CO2 increases in the atmosphere of roughly 1.5ppm each year, a rate which had increased roughly 30 percent to 2ppm annually by the 2000s. In other words, thus far, the 2010s are seeing an average rate that will mark another huge increase, to around 2.5ppm annually.

Prior to the dramatic increases we witnessed last year and this year, humans had never seen two consecutive years of record rapid rates of atmospheric CO2 concentration increase.

Meanwhile, in September, the Earth reached a level of 400ppm CO2 in the atmosphere, and that level is here to stay, according to scientists. This benchmark signifies a new era for the planet.

To see more stories like this, visit "Planet or Profit?"

By next year, the average amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will reach levels not seen since 15 million years ago, during which time seas were roughly 80 feet higher than they are today.

More Records Set

Recent years have seen global CO2 emissions at or near record highs, and there is nothing to indicate this trend will change.

In 1998, global CO2 emissions clocked in at approximately 26 billion tons annually, but by 2015 that amount had escalated to approximately 36 billion tons annually.

The election of Donald Trump as the next US president foreshadows a bleak short-term future, when it comes to emissions. Trump's climate disruption denialism, coupled with policies clearly aimed at increasing fossil fuel production throughout the US, means that we can expect new records to be set in the coming years.

15 million years ago, when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were as high as they've just become, global temperatures were between 3-4 Celsius warmer than they are today.

NASA figures show 2016 well on track to become the hottest year ever recorded.

Psst! In the wake of the election, independent media is more important than ever. Can you make a donation to support the publication of more stories like this one?

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Dahr Jamail

Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last 10 years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon.

Dahr Jamail is the author of the book, The End of Ice, forthcoming from The New Press. He lives and works in Washington State.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus