Since the start of the industrial revolution, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has been steadily rising. The scientific community agree that the main cause for this is the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). This trend has accelerated since the 1950’s, with increasing global industrialisation and consequent burning of fossil fuels. As levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have risen, so have global temperatures.
By the end of 2014, average global temperature had increased by 0.85 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Scientists predict that current trends will lead to a 2 degree warming by 2050 and 4-6 degree by 2100. There is a high degree of consensus within the scientific community that limiting temperature change to 2 degrees means life for humankind will still be possible. However, beyond this level, multiple positive feedback loops will begin to occur, generating a huge acceleration in warming that we will not be able to control. One example of a positive climate change feedback loop would be the melting of the Siberian permafrost, meaning vast amount of methane (a greenhouse gas with 20 times the global warming potential of CO2) would be released.