The overflowing CO2 bathtub, according to the US EPA
According to Joe Romm in “How Can Global CO2 Levels Soar When Emissions Are Flat?”
A crucial point is that, based on actual observations and measurements, the world’s top carbon cycle experts have determined that the land and oceans are becoming steadily less effective at removing excess CO2 from the atmosphere, as I reported last year. This makes it more urgent for us to start cutting carbon pollution ASAP, since it will become progressively harder and harder for us to do so effectively in the coming decades.
In particular, the defrosting permafrost and the resultant release of CO2 and methane turns part of the land sink into a source of airborne greenhouse gases. Similarly, as global warming increases forest and peatland fires — burning trees and vegetation — that also turns one part of the land carbon sink into a source of atmospheric CO2. So does ever-worsening droughts that scientists are observing in the United States southwest and other parts of the world.
We are destroying nature’s ability to help us stave off catastrophic climate change.