Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach Record High

Global warming has been on the rise due to the increasing release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  The main driver in global warming is human industrial activity that causes the release of these greenhouse gases. As global temperatures rise, sea levels rise, ice caps melt, natural disasters increase, and our world becomes less habitable.

Greenhouse gases are gases that absorbs infra-red radiation in the atmosphere.  They include water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), halogenated fluorocarbons (HCFCs), ozone (O3), perfluorinated carbons (PFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).  See our blog post on the greenhouse effect for a detailed explanation of global warming.

Global CO2 levels reached a concentration this year not seen in our atmosphere for more than three million years. The increase of 3.3 parts per million in 2016 was greater than the average global annual increase over the past decade of 2.08, bringing us to a total global average carbon dioxide concentration of 403.3 ppm. Part of this dramatic increase has to do with the strong El Nin͂o event in 2016, but of course, most of the increase has to do with human activity.

“Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, we will be heading for dangerous temperature increases by the end of this century, well above the target set by the Paris climate change agreement,” World Meteorological Organization chief Petteri Taalas said in a statement. The gap between international goals laid out in the Paris Agreement and domestic commitments by nations has hurt the momentum of the Paris Agreement, leaving us on a course for warming well beyond the agreed upon goals.

“These large increases show it is more important than ever to reduce our emissions to zero – and as soon as possible,” said Piers Forster, director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds. With the United States recently pulling out of the agreement, individual and organizational initiatives towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions are increasingly more important.

Environmental and Engineering Solutions is working to become a force for change for businesses and institutions in the Philadelphia area. Call us today for all your sustainability, environmental consulting, and air pollution control design needs. Let us help you make Philadelphia a leader in the fight against climate change.

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