Posted by: Dr Churchill | June 13, 2012

Carbon Footprint of the Planet crosses Milestone of 400 ppmv

We’ve crossed the Rubicon in terms of Carbon in our Atmosphere and as the world experiences tremendous warming and weather extremes, we are now able to confirm that the CO2 in our atmosphere exceeds 400 ppmv.

Because now parts of the planet have seen levels of carbon dioxide rise well above 400 parts per million for the first time in our human history.

Although it’s largely symbolic, the milestone is a stark reminder of humanity’s powerful influence on the atmosphere.

“During the month of April, the mean was over 400 ppm for the first time, throughout the Arctic,” says Pieter Tans of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

The Arctic is not the only place seeing record levels. The Japanese Meteorological Agency has reported levels above 400 ppm for both March and April at a monitoring station in Ofunato, according to local media.

Despite its rounded numerical as well as psychological milestone significance, there’s nothing to suggest 400 ppm is a major threshold in the climate system, according to Tans. In fact, we don’t know what a safe level of CO2 would be.

The Environmental Parliament wants levels of CO2 to remain under 400 ppmv.

Yet many others debate whether 350 or 450 and everything in between, are the ideal thresholds to avoid catastrophic climate change. Organizations, ranging all the way from Greenpeace to WWF and the United Nations all have staked claims along the continuum of CO2 emissions. All are somewhere between 380 and 420 parts per million volume. A ppmv measurement varies around different times of the year but it average out throughout the planet.

Yet the most vocal is the group of activists called that wants levels of Carbon in the atmosphere reduced to 350 ppm. Tans says that is arbitrary too, because ultimately, the safe level could be 380 ppm, or 320 ppm – we just don’t know. As a result, any growth in CO2 increases the risk of catastrophic climate change.

“We’re playing a very dangerous game,” Tans says.




Live with as little carbon footprint as possible and see the positive difference it make in your life and then worry about the rest…

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