As temperatures bust heat records across the globe and wildfires rage from California to the Arctic, a new report produced annually by more than 500 scientists worldwide found that last year, the carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere reached the highest levels “in the modern atmospheric measurement record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years.”
The last time atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were this high, millions of years ago, the planet was very different. For one, humans didn’t exist. On Wednesday, scientists at the University of California in San Diego confirmed that April’s monthly average atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration breached 410 parts per million for the first time in our history.
September’s carbon dioxide output failed to drop below 400 parts per million (ppm) despite historically being the year’s low point for CO2 emissions, which means the Earth has very likely passed that symbolic climate threshold forever.
Surprising new statistics show that the world economy is expanding while global carbon emissions remain at the same level. Is it possible that the elusive “decoupling” of emissions and economic growth could be happening?