The level of carbon dioxide in the air has now reached a point that was unprecedented over millions of years in the history of the planet.
According to the latest recording by the Mauna Loa Observatory, which is the research outpost of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), the Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere has reached 415.26 parts per million (PPM).
Meteorologist Eric Holthaus tweeted — “This is the first time in human history our planet’s atmosphere has had more than 415 PPM CO2. 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. We don’t know a planet like this.”
It was only very recently, in 2016, that the carbon dioxide pollution in the atmosphere soared past 400 PPM, and by next year it had reached 410 PPM. Given this track, climate scientists knew well in advance that crossing the mark of 415 PPM would not be very far off.
A century ago, in 1910, the atmospheric CO2 was 300 PPM, which was still higher than it had been at least 8,00,000 years ago. But within a century this level soared to 100+ PPM, a reflection of the skyrocketing pollution. Crossing 400 PPM was itself a significant moment, but it did not stop there.
More CO2 in the atmosphere means that more heat would be trapped in the gas molecules, and hence, more global warming. A study published in Nature well forecasted that if humans continued burning fossil fuels, then by the year 2250 we would be witnessing CO2 level at the same level as it was during the Triassic period some 200 million years ago.
The worst scenario of this CO2 level probably would be situations like clouds physically breaking apart in the sky and the sea temperature reaching an unprecedented level, not to mention the El Ninos.
Lots of global initiatives have been taken to scuttle the global emission level, but till today, humanity has failed to do proper implementation of any such efforts. We still continue to burn fossil fuels, which are the major contributor the carbon emissions. The use of alternative energy sources like solar and wind are not up to the mark.
Trees are the natural filters of CO2 and the world as a whole seems to be left behind too far in tackling deforestation. Nevertheless, some green initiatives taken by China and Australia could be exemplary.