Monday, May 13, 2013

A Sad First for Humanity.

This week the level of carbon dioxide in the air reached 400. [Check out the live charts]

How significant is that? Well it's never been this high in all of human history. In fact, it's only been in the last 50 years that it has got much above 300.

50 years of carbon dioxide levels

What does all this mean? What can we compare it to?

270-280 was the level before the industrialised age.

299 is the highest archeological (ice core) reading - this occured about 330,000 years ago. (Again, before humans)

350 is the upper limit of what is considered at all safe. (And the reason 350.org chose that name)

400 is where we are now, and that is predicted to be 450 by 2037.

So how bad is 400?

As I mentioned earlier, levels have been around 400 before. More than 3 million years ago. That world was 3-4°C warmer (almost 10 degrees warmer near the poles) and sea level was 5-40 metres higher than now.

I think it's time we got serious about eliminating carbon emissions.

[Related link: 400 vs 350 in one picture]

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