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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 7 2011 PDF Print E-mail

Earth's CO2 Newsletter

@mospheric Post is produced twice monthly by Pro Oxygen and distributed earthwide by 

January 7, 2011
Year 2 | Edition 1


The Most Current Data on Earth

Atmospheric CO2 data in this publication was released January 7, 2011 by NOAA-ESRL.
Data for periods within the last year are preliminary.


Monthly Data for Atmospheric CO2



Atmospheric CO2
parts per million

December 2010 

389.69 ppm

December 2009

387.26 ppm

December 2008

385.54 ppm

December 1987

349.03 ppm
(the last December with CO2 < 350 ppm)

December 1960

316.19 ppm
(50 years ago)


Accelerating Rise of Atmospheric CO2 


December data only

Average Annual Increase* | Atmospheric CO2
parts per million


2.04 ppm per year 


1.52 ppm per year


1.55 ppm per year


1.30 ppm per year


0.88 ppm per year

* Rates of change are calculated with Mauna Loa CO2 data released by NOAA-ESRL and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. 


CO2 Data Source

Via CO2Now  |  Monthly & Annual CO2 Data from NOAA-ESRL & Scripps


The CO2Now Climate Sheet 'In Brief'

The Full Edition is available at:
Current Edition:   The CO2Now Climate Sheet   
Current & Past Editions:  About The CO2Now Climate Sheet

0 tonnes

CO2 Emissions Target

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

CO2 Emissions Target

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. 

 8.07 pH

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.”

 12.9 °C

100-Year Average Global Surface Temperature  |  November: 1901 - 2000

 13.6 °C

Average Global Surface Temperature  |  November 2010

November 2010 is the second warmest November on record (since 1880).  November 2004 is the warmest on record.  

Preliminary data reported December 28, 2010 by NOAA-NCDC.  

 172 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  Lowest level in 2.1 million years

 194 countries

Target of Most National Governments

Signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

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.” 

 280 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  Pre-Industrial Revolution

Atmospheric CO2 was stable at about 280 ppm for almost 10,000 years until 1750.

 300 ppm

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.

 350 ppm

Atmospheric CO2 Target for Humanity

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.”

 387.26 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  December 2009  |  Mauna Loa Observatory

Data reported January 7, 2011 by NOAA-ESRL

389.69 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  December 2010  |  Mauna Loa Observatory

Preliminary data reported January 7, 2011 by NOAA-ESRL

800 ppm

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.)

30.8 billion
metric tonnes

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

See the Full Edition of The CO2Now Climate Sheet


Carbon Media

Recent articles, papers and reports.
rom around the world.
bout our world.


Solutions in the Atmosphere

SolveClimate  |  Qantas Nears £200m Biojet Fuel Joint Venture

The Australian airline Qantas will this month announce a deal to build the world's second commercial-scale plant to produce green biojet fuel made from waste for its fleet of aircraft.


 The Economics Of Happiness  |  Website 

The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, government and big business continue to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, all around the world people are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance—and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.

Yale Environment 360  |  Calculating the true cost of global climate change

Regardless of the role played by economists in the global warming debate, the view that climate change is not to be feared has contributed to the delay in the world’s response.


Climate Wire  |  A super-cold winter amid global warming

Unusual cold in places like Florida actually could be a sign of global warming, rather than an argument against it. Disappearance of sea ice in the Arctic influences atmospheric pressure that in turn controls jet streams of cold air.

Food & Agriculture

NY Times  |  Extreme weather drives up food prices

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization announced this week that food prices hit a record high last month. Its Food Price Index was 214.7 for December, the highest level since the organization created the index to measure the price of a standard basket of goods in 1990.

Science  |  To fight global warming, eat bugs

Meat consumption presents a big environmental problem: Cows and pigs are good sources of protein, but they also belch carbon dioxide and methane. One way to reduce such emissions while maintaining a nutritious diet may be to get people to eat more cricket burgers and mealworm patties.

Business Week  |  Study: No-till farming reduces greenhouse gas

No-till farming, in which farmers don't plow under their fields between crops, releases far smaller amounts of a potent greenhouse gas into the air than conventional farming, according to a new study that suggests no-till may help combat global warming.

Climate Communications

Climate Progress  |  Media coverage of climate change “fell off the map” in 2010

The danger posed to the nation and the world by unrestricted emissions of greenhouse gases is truly the greatest story never told.   We had jaw-dropping science in 2010.  We had gripping climatic disasters.  And we even had major political theater.  But, as we’ll see, the one-time paper of record didn’t have climate change in a single one of its largest lead headlines.

LA Times  |  Scientist on the compatibility of conservatism and belief in climate change  

MIT professor Kerry Emanuel is among a rare breed of conservative scientists who are sounding the alarm for climate change and criticizing Republicans' 'agenda of denial' and 'anti-science stance.'

Nature  |  Why dire climate warnings boost scepticism

The use of dire predictions to encourage action on climate change may be backfiring and increasing doubt that greenhouse gases from human activities are causing global warming.

Climate Research Tool

Skeptical Science  |  An online tool for the IPCC 4th Assessment Report

Miloslav Nic, an organic chemist, introduces the searchable database he created for almost every peer-reviewed paper referenced in the Fourth Assessment Report (2007) of the International Panel on Climate Change.  Read the post, or go directly to the tool at Nic’s website,


Science Daily  |  Ocean Acidification Changes Nitrogen Cycling in World Seas

Increasing acidity in the sea's waters may fundamentally change how nitrogen is cycled in them, say marine scientists who published their findings in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Agence France-Presse  |  Scientists find 'drastic' weather-related Atlantic shifts

Scientists have found evidence of a "drastic" shift since the 1970s in north Atlantic Ocean currents that usually influence weather in the northern hemisphere, Swiss researchers said on Tuesday.

CO2 Pathways

The Wonk Room  |  US Energy Information Administration Projects Climate Catastrophe

The US Energy Information Administration has projected that the United States will lead the world into catastrophic global warming over the next twenty five years. In its 2011 Annual Energy Outlook, the EIA predicts that energy-related CO2 emissions will “grow by 16 percent from 2009 to 2035,” reaching 6.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (or 1.7 GtC)

Fossil Fuels

Climate Progress |  Deutsche Bank calls coal “a dead man walking”

Deutsche Bank predicts coal’s share of electric power generation will tumble further, from 47 percent in 2009 to 34 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2030. 


Mother Jones  |  The oil industry's New Year's resolution

The American Petroleum Institute, which last year called congressional efforts to curb climate changing emissions, among other things, "a giant tax," a "job killer," and "fundamentally flawed," is now begging for Congress to take action—to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating those emissions.

2010 In Review

The Age  |  The deadly decade

The past 10 years have been the hottest since measurements began, and climate scientists have long warned of the extreme weather still to come. 

About @mospheric Post

@mospheric Post is an independent, volunteer-driven publication that is produced in Canada by Pro Oxygen, the maker of 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. 

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