Federal figures show that the CO2 rise is due primarily to the global economy ramping up and burning more fossil fuels that ever. China is the primary culprit.
According to a greenhouse gas measurement team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), since 2011, CO2 levels have jumped by 2.67 parts per million to 395 parts per million.
The developing world has a staggering number of coal-burning power plants and despite countries like the US and England working hard to lower emissions and develop alternative energy sources, CO2 levels keep rising.
To complicate the issue, plants and the all of the earth’s oceans, which normally absorb some CO2, absorbed much less in 2012. There is a natural fluctuation of plant and ocean absorption of carbon but this low-level is concerning.
According to historical data, 1998 did see a larger annual increase in CO2. That year, 2.93 parts per million of CO2 were measured. From 2000 to 2010, the world averaged a yearly rise of just under 2 parts per million. Levels rose by less than 1 part per million in the 1960s.
In 2009, nations across the globe agreed to limit global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over pre-industrial temperature levels.
Temperatures have already risen about 1.5 degrees since the mid-1800s. Current pollution trends translate to another 2.5 to 4.5 degrees of warming within the next several decades.