What is CO2 concentration and why is it disrupting the climate

The latest scientific data indicate that the concentration of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere has reached record levels: more than 420 parts per million.

The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has reached a new record, surpassing 420 parts per million (ppm). This was reported by the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, which has been monitoring data worldwide for decades. This is an extremely worrying figure, also because the concentration is now equal to one and a half times compared to what was present in the earth’s atmosphere in the pre-industrial period.

421.21 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere: an absolute record

The Mauna Loa station made the first measurements in the 1950s. At the time, the data was around 315 ppm. Now it has reached a value equal to 421.21: an absolute record. A century and a half ago, it was around 278 parts per million. “It is certain that this concentration of carbon dioxide is the cause of global warming, ” explained Kate Marvel, a climate scientist at NASA, speaking to the Washington Post.

“Being halfway to doubling the pre-industrial figure gives us a measure of how much humans have already altered the composition of the atmosphere,” commented the British Met Office. In fact, CO2 emissions are largely caused by the combustion of fossil sources, for the production of electricity, for transport, and for industrial processes. About half of the emitted gas remains in the atmosphere and causes the so-called greenhouse effect. A quarter, on the other hand, is absorbed by the oceans, which however acidify more and more in this way, causing the destruction of ecosystems and the disappearance of a number of living species.

CO2 in the atmosphere intensifies global warming

According to scientists’ forecasts, in the absence of drastic and immediate action by the international community, the doubling of the CO2 concentration will probably arrive around 2060. At the same time, an increase in the global average temperature, on the surface of the oceans and land, which could range from 2.3 to 4.5 degrees centigrade, is expected. Values ​​very far from those set by the 2015 Paris Agreement: limit global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees, but remaining as close as possible to 1.5 degrees.

Nonetheless, the world continues to increase the number of greenhouse gases being lost each year. Despite the crisis (and the drop in CO2) caused by the coronavirus pandemic, in fact, emissions have already returned almost to the levels of 2019. The measurements carried out in the cores collected in the ice cap also indicate that the CO2 concentration had never been so high in the last 800 thousand years.

Methane and nitrous oxide are also of concern

Then methane is added to the carbon dioxide, a gas that stays shorter in the atmosphere but is 25-30 times more powerful than CO2. The emissions in this case depended above all on the farms. Similarly, nitrous oxide, linked to agro-industrial processes, is constantly growing. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, it has a global warming potential of 310, and today represents nearly 7% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

All this, according to the World Meteorological Organization, could lead us to exceed 1.5 degrees (the first of the two objectives of the Paris Agreement) already in 2024. To avoid it, the way is simple: we need to reverse the course and demolish the emissions of 6 percent per year. Every year.

New Generation Method To Reduce Carbon

An Sqm club is an important initiative for environmental awareness. It helps you measure the carbon footprint of your company and gives you a better understanding of its impact on the environment. It also helps you to identify the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce your overall energy consumption. The Sqm club is a great way to make your community a better place to live. There are various events and activities that can help you connect with your colleagues and grow professionally.

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