Actually, make that 401.33.
An average of 401.33 parts per million CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere for the month of April. The first time (in millions of years, if the science is to be believed) that the world has seen this much planet-warming gases in the atmosphere.
When I first started Beloved Planet, I feared that this day might eventually come. But I had no idea it would be here so soon. It was May 2008 and global CO2 concentrations had reached an alarming 385.97. That was more than 100 ppm higher than the levels enjoyed by the creation throughout human civilization. The US National Academy of Sciences – together with the academies of all of the world’s largest and industrialized countries – was warning that these trends were dangerous and had to change.
But year by year, carbon emissions increased at ever-higher rates of growth. Last year, we had one or two days of readings over 400 ppm. But last month, we spent the entire month on the wrong side of that dreaded threshold. And last week, we were above 402 ppm.
So let’s be clear: Greenhouse gases warm the Earth. We have more of them now than ever before in human history. When we drive our cars, fly on airplanes, charge our cellphones – or any number of activities that burn fossil fuels, we add to that blanket of warming gases around the Earth.
And we’re piling on blankets at a faster pace every year. Those blankets are producing weather disruptions – drought, flooding, intense storms and sea level rise – that are harming the poorest, and those who have contributed least to the global problem.
If you’re like most of us, you don’t spend much time thinking about the chemistry of the global atmosphere, and what current greenhouse gas levels might be. Today, it easy: 400+, and counting. What to do? Talk. Vote. Insulate. Retire (that old fridge). Write (your congressman). Visit our “Act!” page and pick an idea. And above all, please pray.
It’s late but not too late. It’s never too late to do what is right.