More than 7 billion people are living on planet Earth.
Greenhouse gases generated by human activity are the primary force driving global warming.
Stabilising atmospheric CO2 and climate requires that net CO2 emissions approach zero.
Atmospheric CO2 was stable at about 280 ppm for almost 10,000 years until 1750.
Circa 1912, atmospheric CO2 levels breached the 300 ppm threshold for the first time in at least 2.1 million years.
37.8 billion metric tonnes of fossil fuel derived C02 in atmosphere in 2014.
Atmospheric CO2 June 2013 was recorded at 400 ppm.
If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, Paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 398 ppm to at most 320 ppm.
If the present overshoot of this target CO2 is not brief, there is a possibility of seeding irreversible catastrophic effects.
Atmospheric CO2 Projection for Year 2100.... 885 ppm.
This projection is made in, a scientifically reviewed climate simulator.
The analysis accounts for the voluntary emissions reductions pledges of parties to the UNFCCC. This CO2 level represents a global temperature increase of about 4.5 °C.
Year = CO2 (ppm)
2014 = 395.93 Lima Summit
2013 = 394.48 Warsaw Summit
2012 = 393.55 Rio Summit
2011 = 391.57 Durban summit
2010 = 389.78 Cancun Summit
2009 = 387.38 Copenhagen Accord
2008 = 385.59 UK passes the Climate Change Act
2007 = 383.77 Bali Climate Change Conference
2006 = 381.90 Kyoto Protocol becomes international law
1992 = 356.38 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro
1987 = 349.16 Last year when the annual CO2 level was less than 350 ppm
1959 = 315.97 First year with a full year of instrument data
Study and analysis of numerous papers on the projections of global warming offer a stark and unremitting assessment of the climate change challenge facing the global community. There is now no chance of maintaining the rise in global mean surface temperature at below 2◦C. Moreover, the impacts associated with 2◦C have been revised upwards so that 2◦C now more appropriately represents the threshold between dangerous and extremely dangerous climate change. Consequently, with global emissions returning to their earlier levels of growth, 2014 represents the tipping point.
This conclusion becomes even more challenging when assumptions about the rates of viable emission reductions are considered alongside an upgrading of the severity of impacts for 2◦C within global emission scenarios.
The CCC acknowledge ‘it is not now possible to ensure that a temperature rise of more than 2◦C is avoided’ and given the view that reductions in emissions in excess of 3–4% per year are not compatible with economic growth, the CCC are, in effect, conceding that avoiding dangerous (and even extremely dangerous) climate change is no longer compatible with economic prosperity.
This is a bare assessment of where our ‘rose-tinted’ (though ultimately ineffective) approach to climate change has brought us.
1 1995: COP 1 Berlin Mandate
2 1996: COP 2 Geneva, Switzerland
3 1997: COP 3 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change
4 1998: COP 4 Buenos Aires, Argentina
5 1999: COP 5 Bonn, Germany
6 2000: COP 6 The Hague, Netherlands
7 2001: COP 6 Bonn, Germany
8 2001: COP 7 Marrakech, Morocco
9 2002: COP 8 New Delhi, India
10 2003: COP 9, Milan, Italy
11 2004: COP 10, Buenos Aires, Argentina
12 2005: COP 11/CMP 1, Montreal, Canada
13 2006: COP 12/CMP 2, Nairobi, Kenya
14 2007: COP 13/CMP 3, Bali, Indonesia
15 2008: COP 14/CMP 4, Poznań, Poland
16 2009: COP 15/CMP 5, Copenhagen, Denmark
17 2010: COP 16/CMP 6, Cancún, Mexico
18 2011: COP 17/CMP 7, Durban, South Africa
19 2012: COP 18/CMP 8, Doha, Qatar
20 2013: COP 19/CMP 9, Warsaw, Poland
21 2014: COP 20/CMP 10, Lima, Peru
22 2015: COP 21/CMP 11, Paris, France