A power plant churning out pollution at sunset (picture-alliance/dpa/F. Hoemann) The world is, on average, 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer today than it was in 1850. If this trend continues, our planet will be 2 – 3 degrees hotter by the end of this century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The main reason for this temperature rise is higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which cause the atmosphere to trap heat radiating from the Earth into space. Since 1850, the proportion of CO2 in the air has increased from 0.029% to 0.041% (288 ppm to 414 ppm). This is directly related to the burning of coal, oil and gas, which were created from forests, plankton and plants over millions of years. Back then, they stored CO2 and kept it out of the atmosphere, but as fossil fuels are burned, that CO2 is released. Other contributing factors include industrialized agriculture and slash-and-burn land clearing techniques. Over the past 50 years, more than 1200 billion tons of CO2 have been emitted into the planet’s atmosphere — 36.6 billion tons in 2018 alone. As a result, the global average temperature has risen by 0.8 degrees in just half a […]

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