A Brief on the History of Climate Change – Part 4
The fact that Climate Change is a real issue has been established by climate scientists for several decades. But where did it all begin? When did people start to realise that something was wrong with our climate?
The History of Climate Change: 2010 – 2013
With the largely symbolic Copenhagen Accord signed in 2009, 2010 saw the signing of a three year deal on “Fast Start Finance”, through which developed countries would start to green their economies and take measures to adapt to climate change. The year also witnessed the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, which, although it failed to produce a globally binding treaty, ended with a number of agreements between governments.
The next year, with the human population reaching 7 billion, data from multiple sources show that the concentration of greenhouse gases is rising faster than previously recorded. In 2012 Arctic sea ice reached its minimum extent at 1.32 million sq. miles, which was the lowest extent ever recorded since measurements were started in 1979.
In 2013, the Keeling project from Hawaii revealed that atmospheric CO2 concentration had, for the first time, breached the 400 parts per million (ppm) mark (since the project began in 1958). And the very same year, the IPCC’s fifth assessment report was published, along with the observation that climate scientists were “95% certain” that humans were the predominant cause of global warming and climate change since the 1950s.
The History of Climate Change: 2014 – Present Time
2014 saw the UN Climate Summit take place in New York, which again failed to produce a binding treaty on climate change. It did however produce a voluntary, non-binding treaty on deforestation, with countries pledging that they would halve their rates of deforestation by 2020 and end it by 2030. The year is also tagged as the warmest year ever recorded, with massive wildfires, droughts and cyclones across several regions of the world.
The first half of 2015 saw the US declare the Clean Power Plan which requires power plants in 47 US states to reduce their emissions by 32% over 2005 levels by 2030, and calls for increased share of renewables in the US’s energy mix. 2015 is also slated to overtake 2014 as the warmest year ever recorded, and atmospheric CO2 concentration is recorded at 399 ppm.