The worldwide effort to harness, slow down, lessen, reduce, remove the threat of global warming is epitomized by the Paris ’15 climate accord. This agreement calls for nations of the world to implement plans to slow down greenhouse gas emissions, specifically CO2 from fossil fuels, and to take other remedial actions necessary to hold global temps below 2°C but preferably 1.5°C relative to the start of the industrial revolution over 200 years ago.
That task may be an overwhelming one, more so than realized, due to the simple fact that, according to YaleEnvironment360: “Frighteningly, this modern rise of CO2 is also accelerating at an unusual rate. In the late 1950s, the annual rate of increase was about 0.7 ppm per year; from 2005-2014 it was about 2.1 ppm per year.” (Source: Nicola Jones, How the World Passed a Carbon Threshold and Why It Matters, YaleEnvironment360, January 26, 2017).
“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted… CO2 will need to be reduced… to at most 350 ppm,” according to Columbia University climate guru James Hansen. We sailed past that target in about 1990, and it will take a gargantuan effort to turn back the clock,” Ibid.
Meanwhile, year-over-year CO2 numbers continue a relentless march upwards, unimpeded.
Monthly average CO2 Readings in Parts Per Million (“PPM”)
1850 (Ice Core Data) 285.20
1959 (Mauna Loa readings start) 316.18
February 2017 406.42
February 2018 408.35
March 2018 409.97
A return to 350 ppm is looking very distant.
For perspective on the challenge ahead, Wally Broecker (Columbia) aka: the Grandfather of Climate Science, discussed the outlook in a July 2017 interview:
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