Hope for climate change

Last September, we received news that the huge hole in the Antarctic Ozone was beginning to heal. According to Kacey Deamer, staff writer for LiveScience, “Measurements of the ozone hole taken in September revealed the breach has shrunk by more than 1.5 million square miles (4 million square kilometers) – about half the area of the contiguous United States – since 2000.” In December of 2015, every country in the world got together and decided to sign the Paris Climate Agreement. Today, every country except the United states and Syria have agreed to work together to save our planet.
Through this agreement, the world’s governments decided that we needed to prevent the world’s overall temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius. Although that number seems pretty small, it is a rather aspirational goal. According to NASA, “the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8° Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade.” This means that we would have to stop the global temperature from increasing beyond another 0.7 degrees Celsius with even more advanced technology. What the earth is supposed to do is increase slightly over a couple of thousands of years and then decrease slightly over the next time frame. But in a relatively short amount of time – when talking about the history of the Earth – global temperature has risen high above the norm.
In order to achieve that goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius, the human race needs to limit carbon emissions by 250 billion tons of CO2, better referred to as GtCO2. Again, another impossible task. Last year alone, the whole world put about 38.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air and roughly 2.4 million pounds per second.
But, a group of scientists recently published a new paper finding that the IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – was off in their calculations. The math that was originally used was based off of the math with a base point starting in the 1870s. The finish line, or stopping point based off of these numbers was 2,150 Gt and because we’ve already used up 1,900 Gt since the 1870s, that would only leave us with 250 Gt to go.
But other scientists decided to look at it from a different point of view. Because the temperature and carbon emissions of the world are constantly increasing, they wanted to look at a more recent number so instead, they went with the 2015 emission rates and found that, according to Kevin Drum, a staff reporter for Mother Jones, “Temperatures will rise 0.6°C from 2015 when we’ve emitted an additional 900 Gt of carbon. The good news here is that this is achievable. It’s not easily achievable, but it’s certainly not impossible.”
This goal brings a much more hopeful tint to an otherwise gloomy topic and makes the whole thing easier to swallow.