A Brief History of Carbon Emissions

It has to get worse before it gets better, right?

GOOD recently brought you four days of reporting on the historic signing of The Paris Agreement in New York City. We told you the exciting part about how it’s a record seating pact that got more nations to sign on than any previous accord in history, and we also told you the scary part about how the chances of actually accomplishing the goal of the Agreement—to keep Earth’s temperature from rising 2 degrees celsius—is scientifically almost impossible given the tenants of the document. Crap.

We want to be optimistic. We really do, but when science tells you the Agreement you worked so hard to broker isn’t up to snuff it’s disheartening. So why not throw some more disappointment fuel on your fire? In the video above you will see the “progress” we’ve made combatting greenhouse gas emissions since 1995, when the first UN “conference of the parties” climate talk took place. The results are… not good. Frankly, they’re terrifying. As the climate discussion has gotten louder, so too has the world began to develop faster and faster, with massive countries like China and India growing at a staggering rate. This means more industrialization, and more pollution. And it also means we, as a planet, desperately need this Paris Agreement to make a meaningful impact on the problem of Earth getting hotter really fast.

If you’d like an extended look at how carbon dioxide circulates around the globe over the course of a year, NASA has this handy visualization of their own. Appropriately, CO2 swirling through our atmosphere looks a lot like oil sliding around in a puddle on the ground. Get your facemasks and your fans, everyone! The forecast for the future is hot with a high chance of particulate matter in the air.

Written and Produced by Gabriel Reilich
Graphics by Jake Infusino
Data Sources:
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Carbon Emissions Visualization Courtesy of NASA:

Music: il:lo - Imprenta (Part 1)


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