Current Climate Change is been driven by human emissions of green house gases. The green house gas that is most responsible for increasing global temperature is Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Below are a selection of graphs which highlight the link between increase in global carbon emissions and the increase in global temperatures.
The Levels of Atmospheric CO2
This chart below is from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This shows the dramatic increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, which has been rising since the industrial revolution (1800s). As we can see the levels before the 1800s are relevantly stable at roughly 260 CO2 parts per million (ppm) however after this period we begin to see the levels rise and they are currently at 360 CO2 ppm. In 200 years we have increase the levels of CO2 in our atmosphere by a third and every year we continue to add more.
This graph was produced by the Hadley Centre which is a part of the UK Met Office. The graph shows us the average temperature for the years 1860 to present, and also include prediction for temperature up to 2010. The graph covers the period since the industrial revolution, and as we saw in the graph above, this was when human CO2 level begin to increase. We see a dramatic increase in the temperatures, with a particularly steep increase from the 1980’s onwards which is set to continue.
Observed Arctic Temperature, 1900–2000
This chart is from the BBC and shows the temperature of the arctic from 1990–2000. As we can see from this graph the temperature has increased from −1°C to 1°C. This is most worrying as the Arctic’s temperature increase is double that of the global increase between the 19th to the 21st century. This is the reason for the dramatic decline in sea ice in the arctic in recent years.
Temperature and CO2 Emission levels between 1000 AD to 2000 AD
This graph shows us both the levels of CO2 emissions and global temperature change since 1000 AD. The graph quite clearly shows that as levels of CO2 began to rise, so too did the temperature, leaving us with little doubt that the two are linked and that humans are causing current climate change.
Irish Temperature Increase
Malin Head Annual Temperature (departure from 1961–1990 mean)
As we can see from this graph Ireland is also experiencing the same temperature increase which we have seen in the previous graphs. This chart from Met Éireann shows how the temperature of the sea around Malin Head has risen sharply: it is in the last fifteen year in which we have seen the biggest temperature increase.
Who is producing the most CO2
Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators 2007
The pie chart below shows us the percentage of emissions from countries and regions around the world. As we can see, the US is the biggest producer of CO2 followed by China, and Europe accounts for 10%. Ireland’s emission are part of the European emissions and even though it does not look big, it is worth noting that Ireland has the 6th highest emission per person in the world.