While an incredibly large percentage of the United States still doesn’t believe in global warming, world renowned climate experts are becoming increasingly worried. Not only does the climate meeting in Paris seem to not really contribute in any way to reducing global CO2 emissions so far, but 2015 saw the highest carbon dioxide emissions ever recorded.
In a very concerning study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), scientists based at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii revealed that last year saw the highest leap in carbon emissions ever recorded. This raises new concerns about one of the most dangerous greenhouse gasses out there and its effects on the environment.
In the 56 years of research during which scientists have been monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, last year saw the highest increase recorded to date, jumping over 3.05 parts per million. 2015 was also the fourth year in a row that saw CO2 jumping more than two parts per million.
Rising much faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years, the carbon dioxide levels are metaphorically off the charts. February marked the average global CO2 levels at 402.59 parts per million, a huge rise compared to pre-industrial times. For comparison, the average levels before the 1800s stood somewhere around 280 parts per million.
Causes and prevention
There are multiple reasons for this serious and dramatic rise in carbon dioxide emissions, among which the most responsible parties are an increased fossil fuel consumption and some naturally occurring phenomena.
While the main long-term perpetrators are mainly greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities, last year also had sort of a guilty third party that was entirely natural – El Niño. The very large scale weather phenomenon was responsible for a lot of strife this past year.
Causing droughts, unusual precipitation, and even responsible for ocean warming, El Niño has indeed been wreaking havoc on the environment recently. Also, the last time a similar jump in carbon dioxide levels was observed was in 1998, which was also a year during which El Niño had its way with the continent.
Despite all of this, the World Meteorological Organization issued a statement via the Secretary-General, Petteri Taalas, saying that while the impact El Niño made was severe, it’ only a natural and short lived phenomenon. The truly responsible parties are the continuingly increasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
This brings us back to the Paris Climate Agreement, which should be followed by all involved parties if we are to have a cleaner, healthier, and most importantly healthy planet.
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