It’s officially the beginning of the end for life on Earth, researchers say.
Earth’s atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have passed 400 parts per million — long regarded as the point of no return in the battle against climate change.
Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography said the CO2 levels for September will definitely be above 400 ppm — a time when they typically record the lowest CO2 levels of the year. The findings come from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory, which has measured CO2 levels since 1958.
Scripps CO2 program director Ralph Keeling wrote that it’s “almost impossible” levels will drop in October — or ever.
With 350 ppm considered the “safe” level, scientists have long warned that surpassing 400 could result in irreversible damage. Keeling predicts we could break 410 ppm by November.
From Climate Central.
And even if the entire world stopped emitting CO2 tomorrow, it would take decades to erase the current levels.
“In my opinion, we won’t ever see a month below 400 ppm,” NASA’s chief climate scientist, Gavin Schmidt, told Climate Central.
Since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has warmed the Earth by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, with CO2 being the “primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Climate change has already been blamed for ruining 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef, and it is estimated it will cause one-fourth of the world’s species to go extinct by 2050. In the past 120 years, sea levels have risen almost a foot — with scientists predicting over 13 million people could be forced to move by 2100. This past May, scientists released a report of 31 protected sites — including the Statue of Liberty — at risk of being destroyed by climate change. August tied with July as the hottest month ever recorded, following 16 consecutive record-hot months.
The residents of this Alaskan village are already being forced to leave their ancestral land behind, thanks to rising sea levels: