Human-caused global warming, including fossil fuel-fired electricity generation, transportation, cement production and deforestation, is clearly responsible for the new spike, the US Observation Agency pointed out. Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA).
May is usually the month with the highest carbon dioxide levels recorded each year.
In May 2022, the bar of 420 parts per million (ppm), the unit of measurement used to quantify pollution in the air, was crossed. In May 2021, this rate had risen to 419 ppm. And in 2020, it had settled at 417 ppm.
These measurements are taken at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, ideally located high on a volcano, which allows it not to be affected by local pollution.
Comparable to four million years ago
Before the industrial revolution, the level of CO2 remained constantly around 280 ppm, and this, during the approximately 6000 years of human civilization which preceded it, according to the NOAA.
The level reached today
is comparable to what it was agomillion years ago, when CO2 levels were near or above 400ppm”,”text”:”between 4.1 and 4.5 million years ago, when CO2 levels were near or above 400ppm”}}”>between 4.1 and 4.5 million years ago, when CO levels2 were near or above 400 ppmthe agency said in a statement.
Back then, sea levels were 5 to 25 meters higher than today, enough that many of today’s major cities lie underwater. And vast forests occupied parts of the Arctic, according to studies.
Heat, droughts, fires and floods
CO2 is a greenhouse gas that has the effect of trapping heat, which causes the gradual warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. It remains in the atmosphere and in the oceans for thousands of years.
This warming is already having dramatic consequences, recalled the NOAAincluding increased heat waves, droughts, fires and floods.
” Carbon dioxide is reaching levels that our species has never seen in the past, which is not a recent phenomenon. We’ve known that for half a century and we’ve failed to do anything meaningful. What will it take to wake us up? »