Let's be clear: a reasonable amount of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, are necessary to support life on earth. Without the greenhouse effect, it would be too cold for anything to survive on our planet.
But we've gone beyond what's considered reasonable. In fact. we've done incredible damage to the place we call home.
Here are a few statistics:
- The destruction and degradation of trees and entire forests contributes to climate change through the release of CO2 (which trees store and use).
- Destroying trees accounts for 23 percent of current man-made CO2 emissions, which equates to 17 percent of the 100-year warming impact of all current greenhouse-gas emissions.
- Increased human fossil-fuel consumption over the past two centuries has increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The levels recently surpassed 400 parts per million, the highest level in more than 800,000 years.
- Global surface temperatures have risen by about one degree centigrade since 1880; the 10 warmest years ever recorded—with the exception of 1998—have occurred since 2000. In fact, 2014 was the warmest year ever recorded.
- Sea levels have risen 6.7 inches over the past century due to climate change. This sea-level rise, which is accelerating, makes coastal storms more destructive.