In the past, measurements of 400ppm have been recorded, however, this is the first time in history that it has remained at this level for months. Unfortunately, as 400ppm is considered the ‘carbon tipping point’, this is anything but good news for our planet.
September 2016 marked the beginning of this permanent change over the threshold of a safe ppm. Since then, it has yet to drop below that number. Carbon pollution has been increasing since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and despite efforts to thwart its devastating effects, we have had no signs of relief from this fact.
Due to this, scientists have understood for quite some time that we would eventually pass the tipping point, however, they didn’t believe it to be this soon. What’s even stranger about September being the month in which this transpired is the fact that September is usually the month that carbon dioxide is at its lowest.
“We’re in a new era,” says Ralph Keeling, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s CO2 Program in San Diego. “And it’s going fast. We’re going to touch up against 410 pretty soon.”
While to many, this number would seem insignificant, to environmental scientists and environmental advocates, it marks the passing of a clear red danger zone of climate change. And at the current rate of growth in CO2, levels will skyrocket to 500 ppm within the next 50 years, which would put us on track to reach temperature increases of more than 3 degrees. This level has been claimed by scientists to cause not only extreme shifts in weather but also a sea level rise that would endanger global food supplies.
Of course, this milestone won’t trigger any devastating events by itself, however, it proves how quickly human beings are emitting carbon dioxide. According to Time, there isn’t actually a certain red line, but scientists do understand that the more carbon we emit into the atmosphere, the warmer the world will get. The news of the transition past the ‘tipping point’ also came with the understanding that 11/12 months of 2016 containing record high temperatures. And as stated above, the warmer the world gets, the closer we get to devastation.