The facts are in: global carbon emissions are putting us over the edge.
The World Meteorological Organization’s newly-released annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin has confirmed that greenhouse gasses (GHGs) have reached their highest level ever -- and humans are to blame.
This year’s report shows that in 2013, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) -- one of the most potent GHGs -- reached 396 parts per million (ppm). To put that into perspective, that’s almost 3 ppm higher than 2012 and represents the largest increase from one year to the next that we’ve ever seen. That was, of course, until April of this year. Then, CO2 reached a record 400 ppm, a 4 ppm jump in the first four months of 2014 alone.
If this trend continues, we can undoubtedly expect to break this record anew every year that passes.
But this isn’t an Olympic Track and Field event. Breaking these records comes with dangerous new threats to the health of our families and our communities -- not an endorsement deal.
Experts warn that we must limit our CO2 emissions at around 400 ppm if we have any hope of keeping our global temperature rise below 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit -- and protect the planet from all but certain climate catastrophe. That catastrophe would mean cementing extreme storms, extreme temperatures, and extreme droughts as the new norm, destabilizing migration and immigration patterns, imperiling wildlife and communities, and sending sea levels rising...among numerous other threats.
Princeton University geosciences professor Michael Oppenheimer told the Washington Post that reaching 400 ppm is “ the level that climate scientists have identified as the beginning of the danger zone. It means we’re probably getting to the point where we’re looking at the ‘safe zone’ in the rearview mirror, even as we’re stepping on the gas.”
With the climate facts continuing to pour in, our world leaders must be doing everything they can to protect our planet for future generations, right?
Unfortunately -- to what should be the dismay of every person, plant, and animal on the planet -- this isn’t the case. In fact, it’s not even close.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) just released their annual Low Carbon Index which shows that, globally, we’ve been consistently missing our carbon emissions reduction target each year. By how much? While we should be reducing by at least 6.2 percent each year, we’ve only been seeing a 0.9 percent decrease on average.
In fact, the Index concludes that if we continue emitting at the same rate we are today, we’re on track to see a 7.2 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase by 2100. If we do reach those temperatures, we’ll be well past the point of no return.
Luckily, there’s still time to make sure this doesn’t happen. What better way to do that than to join with tens of thousands of your fellow activists to let our world leaders know we want climate action now?
That’s exactly what’s happening in New York City on Sept. 21, and you can be a part of it. The People’s Climate March is bringing together environmental, labor, faith, and social justice activists from more than 1,000 organizations and businesses to collectively raise our voices and call for real climate action around the world.
If our leaders won’t act, we have to. And that’s exactly what we are doing in New York on Sept. 21. Join us.
--Sierra Club Media Team