Fossil fuel emission has been put in a new light in a diagram explaining how much human-related pollution has occurred in the years since you’ve been born.
The data, collected from CDIAC and globalcarbonproject.org, was put into a visual representation by the Met Office’s Neil Kaye ahead of the pivotal UN climate summit set to kick off in Glasgow this Saturday.
“As #COP26 draws closer it is worth reminding that if you are 30 you have been alive for more than 50% of all human fossil fuel emissions,” Kaye explained on Twitter.
Fossil fuel emissions triggered by humans may date back to 1751, but this bar chart shows that they have been burning at an astonishingly fast rate in the last 100 years alone.
According to the data, more than 90% of all historical emissions ever produced by humanity have been released in the last century – and a whopping 10% of the staggering total amount were released in just the last five years.
In 2020, CO2 levels reached a record high at 412.5 parts per million despite the pandemic.
The annual rate of CO2 collected in the atmosphere has increased 100 times faster in the last 60 years compared to previous expansions triggered by nature, such as those at the end of the last ice age.
More than 40% of the total greenhouse gases in our atmosphere appeared in the just last 25 years.
The burning of fossil fuels is one of the primary causes behind the climate crisis, and has led to the highest concentration of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere in two million years according to scientists.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in August: “Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.”
His remarks followed the haunting report from the IPCC (UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change) which blamed the entire climate crisis on human activity.
It also warned that unless immediate action is taken, the world could be hotter by 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century – a disastrous outcome which would completely change life as we know it.