Greenhouse gas levels keep rising at accelerating rates
At the Paris Agreement in 2015, politicians pledged to limit the global temperature rise from pre-industrial levels to 1.5°C and promised to stop rises in greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and to make rapid reductions in accordance with best available
science, to achieve a balance between people’s emissions by sources
and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century.
Yet, greenhouse gas levels keep rising and the rise appears to be accelerating.
Annual growth rates of carbon dioxide (CO₂) have been rising for decades.
The February 2021 global CO₂ level was 415.88 parts per million (ppm), which was 2.96 ppm higher than the February 2020 global CO₂ level. On April 8, 2021, CO₂ levels at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, reached a peak of 421.36 ppm.
The 2020 global annual methane (CH₄) growth rate of 15.85 ppb was the highest on record. The global CH₄ level in January 2021 was 1893.4 ppb, 20 ppb higher than the January 2020 level.
The 2020 global annual nitrous oxide (N₂O) growth rate of 1.33 ppb was the highest on record. The global N₂O level in January 2021 was 333.9 ppb, 1.4 ppb higher than the January 2020 level.
Greenhouse gas levels are accelerating, despite promises by politicians to make dramatic cuts in emissions. As it turns out, politicians have not taken the action they promised they would take.
Elements contributing to temperature rise
Next to rising greenhouse gas levels, there are further elements that can contribute to a huge temperature rise soon.
As illustrated by above combination image, the thickness of the sea ice is now substantially less than it used to be. The image compares June 1, 2021 (left), with June 1, 2015 (right).
This comes with further feedbacks such as changes to the Jet Stream that result in ever more extreme weather including storms and forest fires.
Temperatures can also be expected to rise over the next few years as sulfate cooling decreases. Aerosols can further cause additional warming if more black carbon and brown carbon gets emitted due to more wood getting burned and more forest fires taking place.
Therefore, the 8°C rise as a result of crossing the Clouds Tipping Point would come on top of the warming due to other elements, and the total rise could be as high as 18°C or 32.4°F from preindustrial, as ilustrated by the image on the right, from an earlier post.
In conclusion, there could be a huge temperature rise by 2026.
At a 3°C rise, humans will likely go extinct, making it from some perspectives futile to speculate about what will happen beyond 2026.
Even so, the right thing to do is to help avoid the worst things from happening, through comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.
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