Emissions of greenhouse gases were significantly on the rise in 2015, as an “explosive” spike in carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere took place last year, more than breaking existing records. That troubling news was reported late last week in a study conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.
Data covering at least 800,000 years in Earth’s history shows that carbon dioxide levels have reached their highest level in human history, and keep on rising at breakneck speeds. According to lead study author Pieter Tans of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, CO2 levels are increasing faster than they have in documented human history, and the increase is “explosive compared to natural processes.”
The revelation has proved to be particularly troubling, as the rapid increase in carbon dioxide came in the same year as the last global climate summit, an event arguably considered the most important global meeting of world leaders in recent years. In this summit, countries pledged to ramp up their efforts in curbing greenhouse gas increases, and as it seems, current efforts to do so have done little to prevent the shocking rise in CO2 emissions.
The NOAA report shows that carbon dioxide emissions were up by 3.05 parts per million in 2015, also making it the largest increase in the agency’s 56 years of documentation. 2015 was also the fourth straight year in which CO2 emissions rose by over 2 ppm, another disturbing first in the agency’s reporting. Prior to the 19th century, the total rate of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere was at only 280 ppm on average. This figure has risen to 402.59 ppm as of last month. Worse, the rate of CO2 level increase at the present is 200 times faster than the last time a sustained increase took place, which was about 11,000 to 17,000 years ago.