Since 1958 the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii has been maintaining a rolling measure of carbon dioxide levels and recently just got a reading of a record high of 415 parts per millions (ppm).
According to Ralph Keeling, the director of Scripps CO2 Program at said observatory, the “growth rate is remaining at the high end.” On a Twitter post, dated May 12, Keeling said that “The increase from last year will probably be around three ppm whereas the recent average has been 2.5 ppm”. He added that is quite likely that we are seeing the effect of El Niño conditions on top of the current use of fossil fuel. El Niño is a part of a routine climate pattern occurring when the sea surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean rise to above-normal levels for a long period of time. There are other studies measuring greenhouse gasses like Methane who is also one of the main culprits of CO2 high levels.
A writer at Grist, who is also a meteorologist, Eric Holthaus, tweeted as well that “we don’t know a planet like this”. Sadly on another post based on Friday’s measurement, he mentioned that “this is the first time in human history our plane’s atmosphere has had more than 415ppm CO2”. Probably the most alarming comment is that this is one of the highest measurement ever recorded on planet Earth since the existence of humans: “Not just in recorded history, not just since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago. Since before modern humans existed millions of years ago.”
USA Today noted that although carbon dioxide levels were much higher millions of years ago than in 2019, in the past 800,000 years before the Industrial Revolution the measurements never passed 300 ppm.
Most scientists are in agreement that the CO2 produced by human activities is the key factor of current environmental changes.
Jeff Wilkinson is a Senior Politics Reporter at Debate Report covering provincial and national politics, . Before joining Debate Report, Jeff worked on several provincial campaigns including Jack Layton. Jeff has worked as a freelance journalist in Toronto, having been published by over 20 outlets including CBC, the Center for Media and VICE.com.