3 Graphs

Earth is heating up.

Why? Because greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2), are piling up in the atmosphere.

Why? Mainly because we’re burning fossil fuels, which takes carbon out of the ground and puts CO2 in the air.

Way back in 1750, before the industrial revolution, we were only burning a tiny amount of fossil fuel (a wee bit of coal) and only emitting a tiny amount of CO2. But our emissions have grown over the years, so much that what started as a “tiny amount” has swollen to 36 billion tonnes per year.

We were only about 280 parts per million (ppm) CO2 when the industrial revolution started; by the time Charles Keeling began his measurements in 1958 we were up to 315 ppm, and we’re now about 415 ppm.

Our planet has warmed about 1.2°C since those pre-industrial times, and we’ve already seen more and hotter heat waves, worse wildfires, more drought and flooding, ice disappearing on land and sea, more furious hurricanes, while the sea itself rises to flood our streets.

Every fraction of a degree dials up the pain. The only way to dial it down is to reduce CO2 emissions.

The only way to do that, is to vote out all the politicians who resist, while voting in all the politicians who insist.

The future depends on our actions.

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15 responses to “3 Graphs

  1. Pure and simple. Thank you!

  2. Thank you. These 3 charts can be easily produced in R using the hockeystick package:

    plot_emissions(start_year = 1750)

  3. thought you needed negative emissions to dial down??

    • Well, slowing emissions may slow atmospheric carbon increases (probably depends on the rate of slowing as carbon sinks may also vary) but the latest science suggests that global temperature would just about plateau if emissions ceased altogether.


      This won’t happen, of course, at least not for many decades, so more warming is assured.

    • Susan Anderson

      The least worst is to stop increasing emissions. Slightly better, slow the rate of increase more. Better yet, bring increase to zero. Each of of these is less bad than business as usual. Using the problems with capturing carbon and otherwise creating negative emissions as an excuse to nothing is unforgivable, if that’s what this query is about.

      • no the inquiry is the effects of constant co2 concentrations.
        from What I currently under stand there is committed warming as the earths energy budget balances with the thought that plants in the higher co2 would act a enhanced sink, drawing down the co2 about as fast as the
        energy budget balances itself. leaving the dial stuck where it is when we get our act together.
        I’m all for keeping the mountain range of carbon in the ground.

    • Well, the only way to get to negative emissions is to reduce emissions.

  4. Thank you,

    “especially carbon dioxide” – but methane important too.

    Do look at GWP*, which is designed to measure the combined effects of CO2, methane and other gases. The UK Business Department, which is hosting COP26 is promoting its use.

    GWP* is made up of CO2 emissions but then adds a measure which is dependent on the rate of change of methane emissions. If methane emissions are falling and the rate of change of methane emissions is negative, the GWP* measure is reduced.

    This means that when emissions measured by GWP* are zero both CO2 emissions and methane emissions will be greater than zero. If GWP* replaces GWP100, commitments to reach zero (or net-zero) emissions would be weakened.



    The adoption of GWP* encourages a delay in reducing methane emissions until close to a target of zero (or net-zero) GWP* (slated to be about 2060?). This is because, if emissions are cut now, methane emissions cannot be falling as much nearer 2060 so less emissions of CO2 would be allowed.

    “Greta Thunberg accuses UK of lying about being a ‘climate leader’”


  5. Susan Anderson

    Offside, but there’s a good article referenced by Masters and Henson on their latest YCC communication about Hurricanes Ida and Nora (Nora headed for Baha peninsula). A good straightforward discussion readily accessible to a reader with my minimal scientific chops who likes to get it straight:
    How climate change is making hurricanes more dangerous
    Stronger wind speeds, more rain, and worsened storm surge add up to more potential destruction
    [also covers stalling, and is crystal clear on global warming’s effects]

    Masters/Henson can now be found at YCC Eye on the Storm, along with their busybody meteo-obsessed commentariat – https://yaleclimateconnections.org/topic/eye-on-the-storm/

    • When (if?) surface temperature (GMST) is stabilized, Ocean Heat Content (OHC) will continue to rise for centuries. AR6 WG1:

      “Beyond 2100, GMSL will continue to rise for centuries due to continuing deep ocean heat uptake and mass loss of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets, and will remain elevated for thousands of years (high confidence).”

      Rapid intensification of storms seems to be related to GMST and OHC. Will rapid intensification get worse even after GMST stabilization?

  6. Reblogged this on Strange Quarks and commented:
    For anyone in your life who still thinks that Human Induced Climate Change is a hoax or is otherwise not real (sigh), tell them to read this. Grant Foster has the ability explain the world simply.

  7. Off Topic – Ross McKitrick is back on Curry with a discussion of attribution


    I don’t follow this. Can/would you discuss it?

  8. So good to have you back Tamino. UM invitation stands if/when you are available,
    One wonders what would have happened if a week before IPCC issued AR6 they had put out this post and said “It’s really pretty simple folks. Read this.”