CO2 and the Climate Curve
- Bending the climate curve won’t be easy. Even with temporarily lower emissions during the pandemic, greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise. That’s because Earth is like a plugged-up bathtub—slowing the flow doesn’t mean the tub will stop filling.
- Air quality is a different story; CO2 stays in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years, while other air pollutants are gone much sooner. We’ll discuss this in a future release.
- CO2 levels peak annually every May, as plants in the Northern Hemisphere use CO2 to grow. Once again, this year’s peak will be the highest in human history.
- In the first three months of 2020, global temperatures were nearly 1.5°C (2.7°F) above a preindustrial baseline. That’s the second-warmest on record, and close to the “stretch” goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.