Levels of carbon pollution (CO2) in the atmosphere are higher than they have been at any time in the past 400,000 years.
Scientists have been warning for decades that rising global temperatures, driven by rising carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, will have very harmful, and perhaps catastrophic, consequences for humanity.
In response, governments the world over have agreed to keep global temperature rise to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial. While 2°C may not sound like much, it is a very substantial change to the Earth System and will have serious impacts on the lives and livelihoods of people world-wide.
Here in Australia, we’re already experiencing the impacts of climate change from less than 1C increase in average temperature. Extreme events like bushfires and heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense.
If we are to have any chance of meeting this 2°C target, we need to rapidly reduce our carbon emissions and transition towards a decarbonised society. This is the critical decade to get emissions tracking downwards and to move investment away from fossil fuels.
Get the full story in our report on Unburnable Carbon
Via NASA. Credit. Data: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Some description adapted from the Scripps CO2 Program website, “Keeling Curve Lessons.”