Carbon dioxide levels hit the highest levels in human history in May

The amount of warming carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has increased past the threshold of a crucial milestone (more than 50 % more than the pre-industrial era) warning the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Friday according to Associated Press. The NOAA stated that these levels haven’t been observed for a long time, even millions of years long ago.

Carbon dioxide emissions of 421 parts/million in the month of May.

The NOAA disclosed that its long-time monitoring station in Mauna Loa, Hawaii, averaged 421 parts per million of carbon dioxide during the month of May 2022. To compare, prior to the industrial revolution of the latter part of the 19th century, CO2 levels stood around 281 parts for every million.

Despite the many efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from greenhouses, the levels appear to be rising according to scientists. This is concerning since a continuing rise can lead to devastating physical dangers including an increase in flooding, extreme heat, droughts and more intense wildfires. As a reference point this year’s carbon dioxide levels are almost 1.9 per millimeter higher than the year before.

“Watching these gradual but constant rises in CO2 from year to year is similar to watching a train barreling across the tracks towards you at a snail’s pace. It’s frightening,” University of Wisconsin-Madison climate scientist Andrea Dutton to the Associated Press. “If we continue to stay on the track and strategy to leap off the track at the last moment and die from heat stroke off track before the heat arrives at us.”

The slowdown caused by the COVID-19 crisis result in a slight decrease in level of carbon dioxide by 2020 however the levels quickly rise once the situation were back to normal. Prior to the decrease, carbon dioxide levels in the year 2019 were already on the rise to a seventh time in a row year, which indicated the alarming pattern that continues until today.

What will happen next?

What happens if emissions continue to rise? The science is clear , and the results will be devastating.

Human food security as well as the quality of life in certain regions are likely to be severely affected. The peer-reviewed scientific journals have shown that when the planet gets hotter by by more than 2°C, the world could reach a point where there is no return in 2035.

More wildfires are likely to occur and significant impact on the health of animals and humans. Along with the scorching temperatures severe weather conditions are expected to put both animal and human life at risk.

More than one million species could be in danger of disappearing in the event that temperatures remain at a high. For now, insect species that are resilient like mosquitoes are predicted to quickly increase in numbers, potentially increasing the chance of contracting the spread of malaria as well as other mosquito-borne illnesses.

These facts create an alarming picture of a world that is almost unlivable. There are still several years to correct issues. Can nations and companies join forces to move to the low carbon economy, or will everything be lost? It will be interesting to see.

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