Nine Percent of Today’s Warming Caused By Preindustrial People
Humans started causing climate change long before the Industrial Revolution and the beginning of the fossil fuel era. A new study shows that the echoes of the earliest human-caused carbon emissions are still present in our atmosphere. In fact, preindustrial carbon emissions, caused by deforestation as the world’s population grew, were responsible for 9% of the total warming the globe has seen to date, the researchers say.
This rethinking about carbon emissions could alter the relative blame put on various nations by as much as 2%, the researchers said. The political ramifications are not yet clear, but most international negotiations on climate change have focused on a “polluter pays” model in which the biggest emitters would take on the biggest role in mitigating global warming. Including developments as far back at the ninth century would place slightly more burden on China and South Asian nations, according to the researchers.