Every human being expels CO2 from their bodies hundreds of times, every day. We rarely think about how ubiquitous the compound is, but perhaps it is time we all pay attention. Scientists have reported that the levels of carbon dioxide in our air have drastically increased, which is bad news for us and our planet.
Monitoring stations located in the Arctic detected over 400 ppm in the atmosphere this past spring. Across the globe, the levels are currently at 395 ppm, which is past the quantity of safe CO2 presence (the safest highest level being 350). While 400 ppm is worrisome, many do not find the number to be surprising. The presence of carbon dioxide in the air has been rapidly increasing throughout the past years. While such levels have only been detected in the Arctic, it is only a matter of time before global levels reach and surpass that number.
Jim Butler, global monitoring director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, states that the recent findings are “significant”, serving as a “reminder to everybody that we haven’t fixed this and we’re still in trouble.”
“This” meaning our current climate crisis, which many believe is not a crisis at all. There are individuals who believe that global warming is merely a hoax, yet Butler has shown that climate change is a very real thing, as have plenty of other individuals and organizations. Many Americans also believe that we have a responsibility to take some sort of action to combat the effects of greenhouse gases and other environmental detriments.
Lawrence Karol at Take Part reports that efforts are being made at the London Summer Olympics to be environmentally conscious. Such an act is commendable, considering the influx of people (and, consequentially, energy usage and waste) that London will face, yet it is worth questioning whether it is enough in the battle against climate change.
The growing presence of carbon dioxide is noteworthy because, as a greenhouse gas, it contains heat within our atmosphere. While it is naturally released into the atmosphere, human beings also contribute to CO2 emissions in various ways, such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
Apparently the last time carbon dioxide was at such levels was “at least 800,000 years” ago, which show how much of an effect we have had on the earth in the centuries since the Industrial Revolution. Butler states that it is ”a troubling milestone,” and indeed it is. Now that we are aware of the effects humans have on the earth, the next question is, what are we going to do about it?