CO2 Levels Approach Troubling Milestone

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere is fast approaching levels not seen for millions of years. At 400 parts per million (p.p.m.), the planet is fast approaching the point of no return for avoiding dangerous climate change.

"Near the moonscape summit of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, an infrared analyser will soon make history. Sometime in the next month, it is expected to record a daily concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of more than 400 parts per million (p.p.m.), a value not reached at this key surveillance point for a few million years," reports Richard Monastersky. 

"There will be no balloons or noisemakers to celebrate the event. Researchers who monitor greenhouse gases will regard it more as a disturbing marker of humanity’s power to alter the chemistry of the atmosphere and by extension, the climate of the planet. At 400 p.p.m., nations will have a difficult time keeping global warming in check, says Corinne Le Quéré, a climate researcher at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, who says that the impact 'is getting very dangerously close to reaching the 2 °C target that governments around the world have pledged not to exceed'."

When monitoring began at the station in 1958, 'the CO2level stood at 316 p.p.m., not much higher than the 280 p.p.m. that characterized conditions before the industrial revolution.'"

Full Story: Global carbon dioxide levels near worrisome milestone

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $50.
$369 includes free shipping!
poster

A Short History of America

From comic book artist Robert Crumb, poster shows how the built environment has changed throughout the decades.
$14.95