Greenhouse gases reached record levels in 2013, according to the World Meteorological Organization, largely due to a worrying surge in atmospheric CO2 levels.

Humanity pumped about 36 gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere as a result of fossil fuel and cement production. This is 61% higher than 1990, the Kyoto Protocol reference year, and 2.3% higher than 2012. Emissions are projected to rise a further 2.5% on the 2013 level this year.

And the effects are plain to see. According to National Geographic, 2014 saw the largest ever land gathering of walruses in Northern Alaska and Canada.  Some of these numbered in the tens of thousands and scientists believe the culprit is a reduction of sea ice due to climate change. In a similar vein, a recent report in the New York Times says 75 to 90 percent of the world’s natural sand beaches are disappearing, due to rising sea levels and increased storm action, to the point where many low-lying barrier islands are already submerged.

The obvious solution is more rapid adoption of renewables like solar energy, but this is simply not happening fast enough to slow climate change and the statistics tell a worrying story. In 2013, global emission rates were dominated by China (28%), the USA (14%), the EU (10%), and India (7%) with growth of emissions in all these states, with the exception of a 1.8% decline in the European Union.