Climate Change is Real

 

The evidence for Earth’s changing climate is clear.

 

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. Atmospheric concentrations  of CO₂ are higher now than at any time in the last 650,000 years, with much of the increase in CO₂ level occurring in recent decades.


 

atmospheric concentrations of co2

Credit: NASA

 

Surface temperatures in the 21st century have been notably higher than temperatures in the middle and late 20th century; nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000.

 

Human activities -- especially burning fossil fuels for energy -- are the primary cause of this increased warming. In the past three hundred years, human activities have released more than one and a half trillion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases into the atmosphere – more than can be permanently removed by the slow processes that naturally cycle CO₂ through oceans and plants. This means a large fraction of that CO₂ is expected to remain in the atmosphere for hundreds and maybe thousands of years, continuing to warm the planet.

 

As a consequence of warming, the Earth’s climate is changing. Arctic sea ice is retreating, with 2012 being a record year for summer sea ice melt. 2012 was a Goliath melt year for Greenland ice sheet, shattering previous  records and threatening to raise global sea level. As oceans absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, their acidity increases, which it has by 30% since preindustrial times and acidity will continue to grow as the oceans absorb more anthropogenic CO2. Many commercially important shellfish are vulnerable to the impacts of ocean acidification.

 

 

While many world climate leaders have set a target of not exceeding 2 oC increase from pre-industrial times, the reality does not line up to this possible future.  Between the temperature rise to date of well over 1 oC, temperature that is inevitable from CO₂ already released and still in the atmosphere, and clean up of pollutants that have masked warming from CO₂ the world is on a trajectory to well exceed 2 oC, even if CO₂ could be turned off today. As CO₂ emissions continue, the Earth’s climate will likely pass critical tipping points (such as unstoppable melting of much of the Greenland ice sheet) with destructive impacts on human society.

 

 

The implications of these analyses is clear: CO₂ emissions must stop -- globally – as quickly as possible to avoid the worst impacts of further warming.


 Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index, Source NASA/GISS this research is broadly consistent similar constructions prepared by the Climatic Research Unit and the NOAA

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution global average temperatures have increased by about one and a half degrees Fahrenheit



Fact

CATF is working to:

  • Advance low-carbon technologies through global business partnerships and policy
  • Promote technology innovation that reduces CCS costs
  • Develop incentives and mandates to promote CCS
  • Support projects that lower the carbon emissions of power plants