The latest IPCC report from 2018 is based on broad scientific analyses. The exponential population and economic growth, but also the modern lifestyle of our globalised consumer society over recent decades have all continuously increased the emissions of CO₂ and other greenhouse gases. The concentration of these greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere is currently higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years, and it is continuing to rise faster than ever before (current measurement methods can only go back as far as the last 800,000 years).
Climate change is man-made
The above-average fast climate changes that have been experienced since the 19th century are primarily due to the start of the industrial age. Although wood was limited with regards to use as a fuel, it was possible intensify industry rapidly using fossil fuels. However, the burning of black coal, brown coal, oil and gas released large quantities of carbon, which was stored over millions of years in the fossil energy sources, in the form of carbon dioxide (CO₂) directly into the atmosphere, which in turn intensified the natural greenhouse effect of the atmosphere.
What about other greenhouse gases like methane or nitrous oxide?
In addition to CO₂, methane and nitrous oxide are two of the most important greenhouse gases, , the annual emissions of which are greatly increased by human activities. Methane emissions are particularly dominant in the area of livestock farming. With regard to natural emission sources, methane is produced in wetland areas as the gas can only arise under anaerobic conditions, i.e. when there is no oxygen. Thawing permafrost, as a direct consequence of the rising global temperatures, thus represents a significant source of greenhouse gases in the form of methane emissions. The main source of emissions of nitrous oxide can also be found in the area of agriculture related to the use of nitrogen fertilisers. In ecological farming the use of such fertilisers is forbidden.