Earth's climate is changing rapidly. We know this from billions of observations, documented in thousands of journal papers and texts and summarised every few years by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The primary cause of that change is the release of carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and natural gas. One of the goals of the international Paris Agreement on climate change is to limit the increase of the global surface average air temperature to 2 degrees Celsius, compared to preindustrial times. There is a further commitment to strive to limit the increase to 1.5°C. Earth has already, essentially, reached the 1°C threshold. Despite the avoidance of millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions through use of renewable energy, increased efficiency and conservation efforts, the rate of increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere remains high. International plans on how to deal with climate change are painstakingly difficult to cobble together and take decades to work out. Most climate scientists and negotiators were dismayed by President Trump's announcement that the US will withdraw from the Paris Agreement. But setting aside the politics, how much warming are we already locked into? If we stop emitting greenhouse gases right now, why would the temperature continue to rise? Read More: ScienceAlert
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