3 Must-Reads on the CO2 Emission Surge in 2023
As 2023 wraps up, it’s clear that we’ve hit a new milestone in CO2 emissions — and not the kind we can be proud of. The numbers are in, and they tell a story of a continued surge in carbon dioxide filling our atmosphere. But what does this really mean for us and our planet?
With everyone talking about emissions, it’s hard to know what’s what. It’s tough to understand all the talk about emissions, with so many different opinions out there. I found three articles and reports that really help make sense of it all. They’re a great start to understanding the issue better, but don’t just take my word for it — read and decide for yourself.
Whether you’re deeply invested in environmental causes or just getting familiar with the topic, these reads will shed light on how 2023 became a record year for emissions and what we can learn from it.
Emissions Gap Report 2023
Temperatures hit new highs, yet world fails to cut emissions (again)
The 2023 Emissions Gap Report, shows that the world is on track for much higher temperatures than the goals set in the Paris Agreement. This will happen unless countries do more than what they’ve currently committed to. This report, the 14th in its series, gathers leading climate scientists to examine how greenhouse gas emissions might change in the future and offers ideas on how to tackle the problem of rising global temperatures.
Takeaway: the report finds that there has been progress since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. Greenhouse gas emissions in 2030, based on policies in place, were projected to increase by 16 per cent at the time of the agreement’s adoption. Today, the projected increase is 3 per cent. However, predicted 2030 greenhouse gas emissions still must fall by 28 per cent for the Paris Agreement 2°C pathway and 42 per cent for the 1.5°C pathway.
Carbon Removal Efforts
Fossil-fuel emissions are over a million times greater than carbon removal efforts
Carbon removal technologies are like big vacuums for the air. They pull out harmful gases to stop them from heating up our planet. Experts at the UN say we really need these technologies to help stop the earth from getting too hot — specifically, we want to avoid going over 1.5°C (2.7°F) warmer than it was before we started heavily using fossil fuels. Right now, though, we’re not taking out much carbon dioxide
Takeaway: in 2023, machines and other methods only removed about 10,000 metric tons of it. That’s not enough compared to the huge amount of pollution we make by burning fossil fuels. This big difference means that right now, these carbon removal tools can’t keep up with all the pollution we make. We’re making way more pollution than we can take out, so it’s really hard for these technologies to fix the problem on their own.
While the first two reads are heavily fact-based and look mainly at the past, the last read is more controversial because it looks to the future. It appears we are on track for accelerated climate change, which will have severe implications for humanity. Predicting the future is hard, but one chart alone (see below) is sufficient to get a grasp of where we are heading.
Climate Change Speeding Up
Some scientists worry that global warming might be speeding up, but not all scientists think this is happening.
For a long time, a few scientists have been saying that the steady warming of our planet could suddenly speed up. This means we might see temperatures climbing quicker and more extreme weather happening more often.
After a super hot year, these experts are now sure that this speed-up is starting. Just last month, a climate scientist named James E. Hansen and his team published a study. They think that global warming could start happening 50% faster soon, which would mean more and more heat and weather problems.
They say this is because there’s more heat being trapped on Earth, making it hotter quicker. Hansen explained it simply: if more heat stays in than goes out, the Earth heats up faster. And if this heat trapping doubles, the warming speeds up even more.
That’s it for 2023! It seems we haven’t slowed down climate change much, but more people are paying attention to the facts. I hope these articles got you thinking. What can we do together? How can we all pitch in? Acting collectively is key. What steps can we take as a group? The future is up to us.