Global warming is mainly the result of CO2 levels rising in the Earth’s atmosphere. Both atmospheric CO2 and climate change are accelerating. Climate scientists say we have years, not decades, to stabilize CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
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@mospheric Post | Jan 18 2011
@mospheric Post is produced twice monthly by Pro Oxygen and distributed earthwide by CO2Now.org
New Video | 300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds
Fossil fuels have powered human growth and ingenuity for centuries. Now that we're reaching the end of cheap and abundant oil and coal supplies, we're in for an exciting ride. While there's a real risk that we'll fall off a cliff, there's still time to control our transition to a post-carbon future.
A novel combination of technologies that has the potential to turn large areas of desert green, producing commercial quantities of food and energy crops, fresh water, and electricity, looks set to have its first large-scale demonstration in Jordan. This week the governments of Jordan and Norway signed an agreement to work with the Sahara Forest Project (SFP), an environmental technology group based in Norway, to build a 20-hectare demonstration center near Aqaba on the Red Sea, which would begin operation in 2015. “It's a holistic approach that could be of major interest to a large number of countries,” says Petter Ølberg, Norway's ambassador to Jordan.
Will the fossil fuel era essentially be over by 2020, at which point electric cars will attain market supremacy? IBM's Institute for Business Value (IBV) is the latest prognosticator to weigh in on the issue. And although IBM's report sees some bumps in the road, it also sees smoother sailing than many other analyses.
Evergreen Solar emerged in the last three years as the third-largest maker of solar panels in the United States. But now the company is closing its main American factory, laying off the 800 workers by the end of March.
A Saskatchewan farm couple says greenhouse gases that were supposed to be stored permanently underground are leaking out, killing animals and sending groundwater foaming to the surface like shaken-up soda pop.
A burst of opposition to smart meters in a Northern California county appears to have turned heads in the state commission with jurisdiction over the emerging technology, with at least two prominent officials yesterday signaling they would consider letting consumers opt out.
Major partnership is said to be the most ambitious of its kind | Up to now, tracking greenhouse gas emissions around the world has been a patchwork affair for scientists. But if it lives up to its hype, a new partnership with roots in California will mean a much more accurate picture of the heat-trapping gases that cause global warming.
In 50 years, measuring carbon-dioxide levels has gone from being a fun problem for a postdoc to a crucial issue for the planet. Scientists have been pointing out for years that it would take only a very small investment to produce the results currently needed. And on January 12th, such an investment was at last revealed.
Insisting that time was running out on climate change, US Secretary Hillary Clinton today asked countries like India, China and the EU to show urgency in implementing agreements on transparency, funding and clean energy technology.
The winter sports industry is in an awkward position: Large ski and snowboard resorts use large amounts of energy and release high levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in order to keep their resorts running smoothly, yet those same actions come back to haunt them. Winter resorts are now taking charge and turning green in order to ensure their survival.
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics promotes sustainable recreation practices and teaches children and adults vital skills to minimize their impacts when they are outside. Leave No Trace is the most widely accepted outdoor ethics message used today on national public lands by all types of recreationists.
The former Canadian Coast Guard vessel, previously known as Tsekoa II, is being refurbished to service the Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea (VENUS) underwater observatories in Georgia Strait between Vancouver Island and the mainland. The refit, expected to be completed in late 2011, will transform the vessel into North America's first fuel cell plug-in hybrid "green ship." The ship will rely on an all-electric propulsion system that will be powered by batteries, fuel cells, and low-emission diesel generators.
Researchers at the Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester have investigated the environmental and climate change impacts of Shale Gas. Funded by the Cooperative, the report demonstrates how the extraction of shale gas risks contaminating ground and surface waters. The commissioned report calls for a moratorium on shale gas development until there is a much more thorough understanding of the extraction process.
Report authors warn shale gas will be burned in addition to coal, not as a substitute, and block renewable energy development Without a global carbon price, the expanding shale gas boom would exacerbate climate change and take money away from renewable energy projects, a new report said, calling for a worldwide pause until countries take steps necessary to lower
As the new year begins, the price of wheat is setting an all-time high in the United Kingdom. Food riots are spreading across Algeria. Russia is importing grain to sustain its cattle herds until spring grazing begins. India is wrestling with an 18-percent annual food inflation rate, sparking protests
Glacier melt hasn’t caused a national crisis in Peru, yet. But high in the Andes, rising temperatures and changes in water supply have decimated crops, killed fish stocks and forced entire villages to question how they will survive for another generation.
The world’s oceans have been experiencing enormous blooms of jellyfish, apparently caused by overfishing, declining water quality, and rising sea temperatures. Now, scientists are trying to determine if these outbreaks could represent a “new normal” in which jellyfish increasingly supplant fish.
Increasingly, the Answer is ‘Yes’ Forecasting what the Earth’s climate might look like a century from now has long presented a huge challenge to climate scientists. But better understanding of the climate system, improved observations of the current climate, and rapidly improving computing power are slowly leading to more reliable methods.
Despite data being collected for over half a century, despite a President being warned about the looming threat of a changing climate in the mid 1960s, and despite plants and animals now changing their behaviour to fast altering conditions, a few scientists continue to raise doubts regarding climate science and its findings. Naomi Oreskes sees a pattern. The pattern repeats itself in a string of issues including controversy over tobacco smoke, the dangers of acid rain, and DDT.
Global CO2 emissions for long-term stabilization of atmospheric CO2
“Stabilizing atmospheric CO2 and climate requires that
net CO2 emissions approach zero”
0 w/m 2 watts per square meter
Global energy balance & the end of global warming
“Stabilizing climate requires, to first order, that we restore Earth’s energy balance.
If the planet once again radiates as much energy to space as it absorbs from the sun,
there no longer will be a drive causing the planet to get warmer.”
0.25 - 0.75 w/m 2
Global energy imbalance from rising atmospheric CO2 | 1750 - 2000
2.04 ppm per year parts per million
Atmospheric CO2 | Average Annual Rise | December 2001 - 2010
December Data Only The rate of increase for the latest decade is higher than any decade since the start of the atmospheric CO2 instrument record in March 1958. For comparison with annual average data, the 2001-2010 rate of increase is 2.01 ppm per year.
Ocean Acidification: Average pH of Surface Oceans | 2005
Average pH of surface oceans has declined about 0.1 units since before the industrial revolution. This is an increase of about 30% in the concentration of hydrogen ions which is a considerable acidification of the oceans.
“…world leaders should take account of the impact of CO2 on ocean chemistry,
as well as on climate change…we recommend that all possible approaches
be considered to prevent CO2 reaching the atmosphere.”
100-Year Average Global Surface Temperature | December: 1901 - 2000
Average Global Surface Temperature | December 2010
December 2010 is tied with 1982 and 1994 as the 17th warmest December on record (since 1880). December 2006 is the warmest on record.
Preliminary data reported January 18, 2011 by NOAA-NCDC.
Atmospheric CO2 | Lowest level in 2.1 million years
Signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
The United Nation's ultimate climate objective “is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.”
Atmospheric CO2 | Pre-Industrial Revolution
Atmospheric CO2 was stable at about 280 ppm for almost 10,000 years until 1750.
Atmospheric CO2 | Highest level in at least 2.1 million years (pre-industrial)
Circa 1912, atmospheric CO2 levels breached the 300 ppm threshold for the first time in at least 2.1 million years.
Atmospheric CO2 | Upper Safety Limit
“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm, but likely less than that… If the present overshoot of this target CO2 is not brief, there is a possibility of seeding irreversible catastrophic effects.”
Atmospheric CO2 | December 2009 | Mauna Loa Observatory
Data reported January 7, 2011 by NOAA-ESRL.
Atmospheric CO2 | December 2010 | Mauna Loa Observatory
Preliminary data reported January 7, 2011 by NOAA-ESRL.
Atmospheric CO2 | Projection for Year 2100
This scientific projection, reaffirmed December 14, 2010, accounts for the voluntary emissions reductions pledges of parties to the UNFCCC since the Copenhagen climate talks. The projected CO2 level represents a global temperature increase of about 4 °C.
World Population | January 1, 2011
Almost 6.9 billion people are living on planet Earth. If humanity is to achieve a stabilization of atmospheric CO2 at safe levels, this is roughly the number of people who will need to be aligned with net CO2 emissions that approach zero. (See “0 tonnes” in The Climate Sheet.)
Humanity's Global CO2 Emissions | 2009
2009 global CO2 emissions were the second highest in human history. Global fossil fuel emissions – more than 88% of all carbon emissions – are projected to increase by more than 3% in 2010. In the past decade, 47% of CO2 emissions accumulated in the atmosphere, 27% were absorbed by land and 26% were absorbed by the ocean. The 2009 data was published November 21, 2010.
@mospheric Post is an independent, volunteer-driven publication that is produced in Canada by Pro Oxygen, the maker of CO2Now.org. Pro Oxygen distributes @mospheric Post as a free information service for the advancement of climate literacy . . . starting with awareness of atmospheric CO2 and what it means.
Twice a month, @mospheric Post delivers the global numbers earthwide – straight from the atmosphere and virtually in real time. It also gives you access to the latest targets, reports and stories about our world, from around the world. Consider it your online source for getting the straight goods and the big picture on humanity's main environmental challenges.