Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning have leveled off. However, we are still emitting vast quantities. The CO2 we are continuing to emit adds to the amount of CO2 already in the atmosphere. Thus, the total amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere is still rising. The chart below shows what’s happening.
The total atmospheric CO2 is closely related to global average temperature. The continuing rise is why projections show that we will exceed 2 degrees C warming. A two degree temperature rise doesn’t sound like much, but it will have terrible effects. If you want to know what to expect, read this post that introduces an article from New York Magazine by David Wallace-Wells.
Scientists and others have had a lot to say about the Wallace-Wells article. Scribbler says: “. . . Wallace-Wells is not our enemy here. He may have stepped on a number of his unqualified facts, but he’s gotten the overall message pretty much right. And if he’s gotten a bit carried away in being scared over bad climate outcomes, then he’s in good company ;). Moreover, he’s passionately advocating for exactly the kinds of climate solutions that are absolutely needed and that do provide us all with a good measure of hope — if we pursue them. In other words, Wells has talked about climate doom. But he doesn’t walk the path of doom itself.” –Robert Scribbler (Continue reading).