Global Carbon Levels Surpass 400 ppm for First Time Ever for Entire Month
Marking yet another grim milestone for an ever-warming planet, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed on Wednesday that, for the first time in recorded history, global levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere averaged more than 400 parts per million (ppm) for an entire month—in March 2015.
"This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations to rise more than 120 parts per million since pre-industrial times," said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, in a press statement. "Half of that rise has occurred since 1980."
This is not the first time the benchmark of 400 ppm has been reached.
"We first reported 400 ppm when all of our Arctic sites reached that value in the spring of 2012," explained Tans. "In 2013 the record at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory first crossed the 400 ppm threshold."
However, Tans said that reaching 400 ppm across the planet for an entire month is a "significant milestone."
A tweet released by NOAA on Wednesday shows that this development is consistent with rising levels over recent years.
— NOAA (@NOAA) May 6, 2015
However, zooming to a wider historical lens shows an even more dramatic increase. During pre-industrial times, CO2 levels were at 280 ppm. Scientists have warned that, in order to achieve safe levels, CO2 must be brought down to a maximum of 350ppm—the number from which the environmental organization 350.org derives its name.
Bill Snape, senior counsel to the Center for Biological Diversity, told Common Dreams, "The fact that we are now firmly over 400 ppm for first time in human history indicates to me that we ought to be moving with much more urgency to fix the underlying problem."
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
The night sky has a special treat in store for stargazers this winter solstice.
- NASA Satellites Enable Scientists to Observe Climate Change ... ›
- Why Scientists Are Searching for Life in 'Alien Oceans' - EcoWatch ›
- To Save Endangered Species, Scientists Point Stargazing Software ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dena Jones
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was sued three times this past summer for shirking its responsibility to protect birds from egregious welfare violations and safeguard workers at slaughterhouses from injuries and the spread of the coronavirus.
By Julia Conley
Conservation campaigners on Thursday accused President Donald Trump of taking a "wrecking ball" to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as the White House announced plans to move ahead with the sale of drilling leases in the 19 million-acre coastal preserve, despite widespread, bipartisan opposition to oil and gas extraction there.
The Sheenjek River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Alexis Bonogofsky / USFWS
- Bipartisan Bill Seeks to Ban Drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ›
- Bank of America Promises It Won't Fund Arctic Drilling - EcoWatch ›
- Trump's Drilling Leases on Public Lands Could Lead to 4.7B Metric ... ›
- Trump Administration's Alaska Oil and Gas Lease Sale a 'Major Flop ... ›
- Will Oil Companies Drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ... ›
Hot, dry and windy conditions fueled a wildfire southeast of Los Angeles Thursday that injured two firefighters and forced 25,000 to flee their homes.
- 'Explosive' Southern California Lake Fire Spreads to 10,000 Acres ... ›
- A Gender-Reveal Party Started a Wildfire That Burned Nearly ... ›
- Wildfire in LA Burns 7,000 Acres During Record-Setting Heat Wave ... ›
The climate crisis already has a death toll, and it will get worse if we don't act to reduce emissions.
- 'Every Child Born Today Will Be Profoundly Affected by Climate ... ›
- Coronavirus Response Proves the World Can Act on Climate Change ›
- 5 Things About Climate Change and Coronavirus From WHO ... ›