Asked by: Andrew Kemp, Cheshire
Venus’s atmosphere is 96 per cent carbon dioxide, driving a powerful greenhouse effect that creates surface temperatures of up to 450°C. Earth’s atmosphere, on the other hand, currently contains 0.04 per cent carbon dioxide, with trace amounts of other greenhouse gases. While greenhouse gas concentrations have been rising as we burn fossil fuels, they are still far from Venus’s levels. Even if we were to burn all available fossil fuels, the likely impact on our planet’s temperature would be a 10°C rise. This may seem modest by Venus’s standards, but it would be enough to cause a sea level rise of more than 50 metres.