Scientists: Current CO2 levels in the Earth's atmosphere "have not been seen for millions of years"

Carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere have risen to values ​​that are more than 50% higher than in pre-industrial periods of human civilization, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States announced on Friday. informs DPA.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), measured by the Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory in Hawaii, reached a peak of 421 parts per million (ppm) in May 2022, “pushing the Earth’s atmosphere even further into a territory that has not it has been seen for millions of years, “said US experts.

Before the Industrial Revolution – and for almost 6,000 years of human civilization – CO2 levels were constantly around 280 ppm. After that period of profound technological change, which began in the 18th century, scientists estimate that humans generated emissions of about 1.5 trillion tons of CO2, and much of that will continue to warm the planet. for another few thousand years from now.

The announcement Friday was made by researchers from NOAA – a US federal agency that provides information and scientific services to protect the Earth’s natural resources – and the Scripps Institution for Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

“Science has irrefutable evidence that people are changing the climate in ways that our economy and infrastructure need to adapt,” Rick Spinrad, NOAA’s chief executive officer, was quoted as saying in a statement.

“Every day we see the impacts that climate change has on our environment. The relentless rise in carbon dioxide levels measured at Mauna Loa is a strong testament to the fact that we need to take urgent and serious action to become a better climate-ready nation, ”he added.

“It is depressing that we lack the strength of a collective will to slow the relentless rise in CO2 levels.”

According to NOAA, CO2 pollution is caused by the burning of fossil fuels for transportation and electricity, as well as cement plants, deforestation, agriculture, and other practices.

“Along with other greenhouse gases, CO2 captures heat radiated to the planet’s surface and would otherwise ‘escape’ into space, causing the planet’s atmosphere to heat up constantly, leading to a cascade of weather impacts, including episodes of extreme heat, drought and wildfires, as well as heavier rainfall, floods and tropical storms, “the US agency added.

“It is depressing that we lack the strength of a collective will to slow the relentless rise in CO2 levels,” said Ralph Keeling, a renowned professor of geochemistry who runs the Scripps Institution’s Mauna Loa program. “The use of fossil fuels may not accelerate, but we continue to run at full speed toward a global catastrophe,” he added.

Pieter Tans, a senior researcher at the Global Monitoring Laboratory, shares Professor Keeling’s frustration and said that although high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are not new, humanity has refused to act accordingly, according to a source quoted by Agerpres.

“We have known these things for half a century, but we have failed to do anything consistent against them. What else should happen for us to wake up? ”Pieter Tans said.

Editor: Liviu Cojan

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