RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Kahn writes: "It's time for your annual reminder humans have pushed the planet into a state unseen in millions of years."

Sunset. (photo: Getty)
Sunset. (photo: Getty)

Carbon Dioxide Has Never Been Higher in Humanity's Existence

By Brian Kahn, Earther

04 May 18


t’s time for your annual reminder humans have pushed the planet into a state unseen in millions of years.

Carbon dioxide measurements at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii averaged 410.31 parts per million (ppm) in April. That bests last May’s record of 409.65 ppm, is well above the pre-industrial value of 280 ppm, and means the atmosphere of April 2018 was unparalleled in human history. Its reign will be short-lived, as May will almost surely set another record.

Right now, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are higher than they’ve been in the past 2 million years (though it may be quite a bit longer). As long as we keep burning fossil fuels like they’re going out of style, this will keep happening.

If current emissions trends continue, we’ll create an atmosphere that resembles the one from 50 million years ago. Back then, crocodiles patrolled the Arctic, and oceans were dramatically higher. Most importantly, the climate was wildly different from the one that’s allowed humans to thrive.

The 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit of warming since the start of the Industrial Revolution has made heat waves more deadly, wildfires more intense, and storm surge higher. And because the Earth’s climate is a big ship that takes millennia to change course, the impacts of our current glut of carbon dioxide emissions will ripple out into the far future. It already looks like islands atolls may be uninhabitable by mid-century. Beyond that, we may have conscripted the West Antarctic ice sheet to collapse, which could cause seas to rise up to 13 feet over the coming centuries.

The 410.31 ppm mark is a sorry reminder of what we’ve already done. But it’s also a rallying cry that we still have time to cut emissions in an effort to keep starship Earth from veering completely off course and tossing us all overboard. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+3 # Texas Aggie 2018-05-05 01:45
But, but, but ... corporate profits! Think of the corporate profits! And stock dividends! Don't forget stock dividends!

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.