If any single illustration best highlights our climate predicament, it is probably the Keeling Curve. Now scientists are warning that time is running out to reverse its steep upward trend.

Named after Dr. Charles David Keeling, the atmospheric scientist who began measuring CO2 in the air atop Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii way back in 1958, the iconic Keeling Curve graph shows an accelerating upwards saw-tooth curve as human emissions of carbon dioxide accumulate relentlessly in our atmosphere.

There was no slow-down in CO2 rises after the Earth Summit in 1992, nor with the Copenhagen meeting in 2009 nor even with the much-heralded Paris Agreement of 2015. As far as the Keeling Curve is concerned, humans have so far achieved more or less nothing in the battle to stabilize the Earth’s climate.

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