David Roberts found this cool infographic (wait, wait, hear me out) that illustrates some important info about climate change. Like David, I feel obliged to put a little preface here about how I know what you are probably thinking when you hear someone say they have a cool infographic. Back in 2011, I wrote about how infographics were pretty much terrible and we were over using them as a format for conveying information, but sometimes, like this time, they are still great.
Designed by David McCandless, this infographic, which you can see below, illustrates the amount of carbon dioxide that has been released into the atmosphere, how much can "safely" be released into the atmosphere and how much fossil fuel companies have ready to burn. It also associates the amount of global warming that will occur after different amounts of carbon release. If you read about climate change, you'll sometimes hear these figures called the "carbon budget" or "the math of climate change." It is an important and powerful concept to absorb and should change your thinking on how fast we must act.
If you want to learn more about these numbers, David Roberts has several articles and an excellent video explaining this concept. Bill McKibben famously wrote about Global Warming's Terrifying New Math for Rolling Stone. And I even tried to summarize these numbers to help make the case for civil disobedience on climate. McCandless' graphic makes this idea even easier to understand.
Click over to Information is Beautiful to see a larger version. They also helpfully provide a link to their data sources.