Skip to 0 minutes and 3 secondsClimate change, it’s clear what the challenge is. Carbon from human emissions is building up in the atmosphere and heating our planet. But if we can limit our emissions enough, the worst case can be averted.
Skip to 0 minutes and 19 seconds The 2015 Paris Agreement was a giant step forward. 195 countries set goals for limiting carbon emissions and promised to report on their progress. But even if they’re completely achieved, the targets set so far will not get the job done, not by a long shot. To begin with, those targets are only a start on the deeper cuts needed. Compounding the problem, the climate models used to estimate the required reductions in the Paris Agreement left out a critical factor. A massive reservoir holds more carbon than there is in all the known fossil fuel stores on earth, twice as much carbon as there is in our atmosphere. Three times as much as there is in all of our forests.
Skip to 1 minute and 6 seconds And this reservoir is not secure. It is emitting carbon into the atmosphere at an ever increasing rate. What is it? Permafrost. Global warming is causing this frozen Arctic soil to thaw releasing carbon dioxide and methane. Tundra fires accelerate the thaw and make the problem even worse. The science on permafrost carbon was not yet well enough understood. So leaders in Paris could not take this critical factor into their planning. The result, current emissions targets will not meet the challenge.