Why does CO2 matter?
Because there is no planet B.
Why CO2 matters
The global warming has catastrophic consequences for our planet and threatens the existence of nature and mankind. There is little doubt that it is caused by a radical increase in greenhouse gases (GHG) in our atmosphere as a result of human activity .
In 2016, GHG emissions measured in CO2-equivalents summed up to around 50 billion tons . Atmospheric concentration of CO2 has risen by 48% from 280 ppm at the beginning of the industrial revolution in 1850 to 415 ppm today .
A glimpse into history shows: over the past millenia, never has the CO2 concentration reached such levels; never has there been such an increase.
Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2017) - "CO₂ and Greenhouse Gas Emissions". Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: 'https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions'
With the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change many countries committed to take action in order keep global temperature well below 2°C. Scientists have developed models to calculate the remaining carbon budget - the amount of carbon emissions permitted to hold the temperature limit. The resulting amounts range from 118 billion tons CO2e to 779 billion tons CO2e - and respective time horizons between less than three and sixteen years assuming stable emissions at current levels .
Unless we change something, a growing population and intensified economic activity on our planet will further increase GHG emissions and amplify global warming. So why does CO2 matter? Let's join Mike Berners-Lee and agree on three fundamental facts :
We are in a climate emergency.
It's human made.
And we can do something about it.
Mike Berners-Lee, 2010, 2020, How Bad are Bananas, Profile Books, revised 2020 edition, page 3