CO2 Now


What the world needs to watch

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.

To help the world succeed, makes it easy to see the most current CO2 level and what it means. So, use this site and keep an eye on CO2.  Invite others to do the same. Then we can do more to send CO2 in the right direction.

Watch CO2 now and know the score on global warming, practically in real time.

@mospheric Post | Mar 8 2011 PDF Print E-mail

Earth's CO2 Newsletter

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

March 8, 2011
Year 2 | Edition 5


In this edition of @mospheric Post . . .

Quotable Now

  *  Mikhail Gorbachev on his 80th Birthday

The Latest Climate Numbers

Fresh data just released:
    *  Monthly data for atmospheric CO2
    *  Accelerating rise of atmospheric CO2

Carbon Media

  *  SOLUTION SPOTLIGHT:  Reinventing Fire -- a video by The Rocky Mountain Institute
  *  43 recent articles, papers and reports 

The CO2Now Climate Sheet 'In Brief'

  *  17 leading measurements, benchmarks and targets for Earth's global climate.  All in one place.   
  *   Click here to see the Full Edition of the CO2Now Climate Sheet. 

About @mospheric Post

Quotable Now

80th birthday message from Mikhail Gorbachev

Quoted from the March 2011 GCI Newsletter . . .

"Having lived through a large part of the 20th century, and thus having experienced the war, the aftermath of the Cold War and the painful process of post Cold War transformations, I think I have the right and the duty to share with you some of my thoughts, especially now when the world is at the threshold of an unprecedented “quantum leap” transformation.

Today, no human being, whatever their religion and wherever they live in the world, can ignore the three challenges that the new century has thrown at our feet: the necessity to maintain world peace, overcome disgraceful poverty and stop deadly environmental degradation.

You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.

~ Mikhail Gorbachev (March 2011)

These three challenges facing humanity are interdependent. And the mission of Green Cross is to tackle these challenges in their interdependence. Let’s not be tempted by generally doing good – there are too many problems in the world. As Winston Churchill put it: “It is no use saying ‘We are doing our best’. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary”. This “doing what is necessary” should become the motto of Green Cross."

~ Mikhail Gorbachev, Founding President of Green Cross International

The Most Current Data on Earth

Atmospheric CO2 data in this publication was released March 8, 2011 by NOAA-ESRL.
Data for periods within the last year are preliminary.


Monthly Data for Atmospheric CO2



Atmospheric CO2
parts per million

February 2011 

391.76 ppm

February 2010

389.85 ppm

February 2009

387.41 ppm

February 1987

348.55 ppm
(the last February with CO2 < 350 ppm)

February 1961

317.70 ppm
(50 years ago)


Accelerating Rise of Atmospheric CO2 


February data only

Average Annual Increase* | Atmospheric CO2
parts per million


2.03 ppm per year 


1.58 ppm per year


1.52 ppm per year


1.38 ppm per year


0.90 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


Carbon Media -- Spotlight


Reinventing Fire

Reinventing Fire™ |  Rocky Mountain Institute
The Rocky Mountain Institute has a vision to regain energy leadership and competitiveness, restore jobs and prosperity, and build a secure and climate-safe energy system.  Reinventing Fire™ will focus on opportunities in the next five years that can profitably jump-start the journey toward a fossil-fuel-free economy.  

Watch the introductory video today.  To learn more, visit the Reinventing Fire™ website

Michael Jessen (Nelson, Canada) recommended this feature for @mospheric Post.


Carbon Media

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

Sharing Solutions

Juice sharing for electric car owners  | NY Times
On March 7, Xatori released PlugShare, a free iPhone app that lets drivers and outlet owners locate and offer electricity.

Between a REC and hard place  |  Climate Spectator
In Australia, if you want to develop a renewable energy project, there’s only really three people that you need  to try and impress – the CEOs of the largest retailers; Origin Energy, AGL Energy and TruEnergy.

Can geoengineering put the freeze on global warming?  |  USA Today
Scientists call it "geoengineering," but in plain speak, it means things like this: blasting tons of sulfate particles into the sky to reflect sunlight away from Earth; filling the ocean with iron filings to grow plankton that will suck up carbon; even dimming sunlight with space shades.

South Africa plans world's largest solar power station  |  Forum for the Future
A new solar PV power station could meet one tenth of South Africa's electricity needs
South African Energy Minister Dipuo Peters has confirmed plans to build a 5GW solar power station – the world’s largest to date – in the Northern Cape. And it’s a good place for it. This region is one of the sunniest in the world.  

Cutting black carbon and methane slows climate change   |  Scientific American
Reducing emissions of black carbon and methane can be done today with existing technologies and could significantly slow climate change

Climate Education

The Coming Classroom Climate Conflict  |  DeSmogBlog
Blog by Chris Mooney:  I’ve just completed a trip out to the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado—a town that’s in many ways the chief hub for our country’s climate scientists, as well as for a variety of other researchers (especially on weather and renewable energy) and many science education specialists. My visit was focused on science communication, but another theme kept coming up: climate science education, and the conflicts arising therein.

Climate Science

Heavy rains linked to humans  |  NY Times 
Human role fuels fury of storms, floods: UVic study  |  Times Colonist 
In the first major paper of its kind, the researchers used elaborate computer programs that simulate the climate to analyze whether the rise in severe rainstorms, heavy snowfalls and similar events could be explained by natural variability in the atmosphere. They found that it could not, and that the increase made sense only when the computers factored in the effects of greenhouse gases released by human activities like the burning of fossil fuels.   In a study published in the scientific journal Nature, researchers provide what they consider to be the first formal identification of a human contribution to the observed intensification of extreme precipitation.

BBC  |  Climate change raises flood risk, researchers say
Climate Progress  |  Two seminal papers link human emissions to environmental harms
Nature  |  Human causes of 2000 flood risk in England and Wales
Two research groups present their findings in the journal Nature.  Using real-world data and computer models, one team says it has proven the link between greenhouse emissions and the observed increase in extreme rains in the Northern Hemisphere.  The other says greenhouse warming made the UK floods of 2000 more likely.  That autumn saw the highest rains in England and Wales since records began in 1766.  The Hampshire village of Hambledon was underwater for six weeks, and insurers put the final cost to the country at more than £1bn.

CO2 exacerbates oxygen toxicity  |
Under conditions of oxidative stress, certain types of damage (cell death, some DNA lesions, mutation frequency, etc.) affecting the model organism Escherichia coli tend to increase depending on the level of atmospheric CO2. The CO2 levels studied range from 40 ppm(1) to the current projections for 2100 (1,000 ppm). The results indicate that the predicted increase in atmospheric CO2 should have a direct effect on living organisms.

Sam Dukan (Marseille, France) recommended this report for @mospheric Post.

Global warming momentum   |  Science Daily
While governments debate about potential policies that might curb the emission of greenhouse gases, new University of Washington research shows that the world is already committed to a warmer climate because of emissions that have occurred up to now.

Natural Gas

Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers   |  NY Times
Coal mines annually produce millions of tons of toxic waste.  But the hazards associated with natural-gas production and drilling are far less understood than those associated with other fossil fuels, and the regulations have not kept pace with the natural-gas industry’s expansion.

“We’re burning the furniture to heat the house,” said John H. Quigley, who left last month as secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “In shifting away from coal and toward natural gas, we’re trying for cleaner air, but we’re producing massive amounts of toxic wastewater with salts and naturally occurring radioactive materials, and it’s not clear we have a plan for properly handling this waste.”

Serena Connor (Arlington, USA) recommended this article for @mospheric Post.

What the frack? US natural gas drilling method contaminates water  |  London Guardian
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses pressure blasts to release natural gas but leaves highly toxic waste water

Results of controversial 'fracking' for shale gas in UK to be kept secret  |  London Guardian
Drilling method criticised for contaminating water sources, but MPs hear US energy firm must only disclose details in 2015


Ecuador fines Chevron $9 Billion  |  The Economist
CHEVRON is a “multinational monster”, says Ecuador’s populist president, Rafael Correa. Various celebrities agree (see picture). And at first glance, it does look like the story of a nasty big American corporation polluting a poor country and then refusing to pay for the damage. But the case is in fact rather more complicated than that.

World Carbon

Chinese Minister:  CPI & carbon emissions to be capped  |  People’s Daily
In order to meet the central government's goal of reducing energy usage intensity by 20 percent by the end of 2010 from the level five years ago, some Chinese local governments had gone wild to cut electricity supplies.

Alberta reins in green plans  | Calgary Herald
If there was any doubt the issue of climate change has been pushed to the political sidelines, Alberta's spending on greenhouse gas reduction initiatives in future years is following Ottawa's lead -a budget line item showing a precipitous plunge.

Scotland firms not prepared for new CO2, zero-waste laws  |  Edinburgh Scotsman
Accountants and lawyers are failing to prepare their clients for new laws forcing them to detail their carbon dioxide emissions, says the boss of an environmental software firm.

Europe to turn up heat on climate targets   |  Agence  France-Presse
The European Union, home to half a billion people and some 20 million companies, is committed to going "green" between now and 2050 as part of passionate moves to save the planet from global warming, including demanding that the key farming, transport and construction sectors step up the plate.

Denmark and Britain urge deeper CO2 cuts  |  ABC Australia
Britain and Denmark have called on fellow European Union members to adopt a more ambitious target for cutting carbon emissions.

New study shows tougher climate goal for EU could boost GDP  |  Postdam Institute
A study led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and commissioned by the German Environment Ministry, says that if the EU increases its target from its existing 20% to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020, innovation and investment in a low-carbon economy would experience an increase after the recent financial crisis

Barack Obama may be forced to delay US climate action  |  London Guardian
Funding gap could force president to order a two-year delay in Environmental Protection Agency action, conference hears

Kyoto extension must include US & China, says UN climate head  |  Japan Times
Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, said in an interview in Tokyo that while a new legally binding pact on combating global warming is out of reach this year, all countries should redouble their efforts to reach an agreement.

Australian Carbon price: Cost or investment?  |  The Age
The government has now released the broad framework it proposes for roll-out of a carbon price for Australia

EU backs away from 30% emissions cut, leak says  |  BBC 
The European Commission will not call for tougher targets on carbon emissions despite analysis showing doing so would be cost-effective.

$20 billion black hole in Australian Opposition’s carbon plan  |  The Age
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's ''direct action'' climate change policy would cause Australia's greenhouse gas emissions to skyrocket and trigger a $20 billion budget black hole, according to an analysis commissioned by the government.

Amazon Forest as a Source of CO2   |  Living On Earth
In the Amazon forest researchers are trying to calculate the damage from 2 severe droughts. In recent years there's been a distinct lack of rain in the Amazon rainforest. "The drought of the century" is what they called the first in 2005, but the second, just 5 years later, was even worse.

Fossil Fuel Consequences

Fossil fuel economy: Testing the Waters  |  Time
Across the planet, half a billion people rely, directly and indirectly, on corals for their living. Now rising ocean temperatures, changes to the ocean's chemistry and the global trade in natural resources — all symptoms of our fossil-fuel economy — are waging a multifront war on the marine environment.

Climate change takes toll on coffee growers and coffee drinkers  |  Seattle Times
Coffee yields in Costa Rica have dropped dramatically in the last decade, with farmers and scientists blaming climate change for a significant portion of the troubles.

Melting snow and ice warming planet faster than expected  |  Climate Signals
Mark Flanner at the University of Michigan and his collaborators used satellite data to measure how much changes in snow and ice in the Northern Hemisphere have contributed to rising temperatures in the last 30 years.

Shifting Spring:  Arctic plankton blooms up to 50 days earlier  |  Washington Post
A new report finds that the Arctic's disappearing ice has apparently triggered another dramatic event - one that could disrupt the entire ecosystem of fish, shellfish, birds and marine mammals that thrive in the harsh northern climate.

Miami and New Orleans Could Lose 10% of Land by 2100  |  Fast Company
Over 40 million people in the coastal United States--including New York City and D.C.--could be impacted by rising sea levels in the coming decades.     

Climate Computer Games  |  American Progress
Computer games offer an opportunity to teach people of all ages about the dangers of climate change as well as the lifestyle choices to avoid it.

Second NASA ‘global warming’ satellite plunges to the sea  |
For the second time in two years, a rocket glitch sent a NASA global warming satellite to the bottom of the sea Friday – a $424 million debacle that couldn't have come at a worse time for the space agency and its efforts to understand climate change.

Extreme winter weather linked to climate change  |   Crossroads Today
This winter's heavy snowfalls and other extreme storms could well be related to increased moisture in the air due to global climate change, a panel of scientists said.  This extra moisture is likely to bring on extraordinary flooding with the onset of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, as deep snowpack melts and expected heavy rains add to seasonal run-off.

Coral reefs report warns of mass loss threat  |  The Guardian
Three-quarters of world's coral reefs in danger of dying owing to pollution, overfishing and climate change

Carbon emissions threaten marine ecosystems  |  ABC Australia
Australian scientists are using Southern Ocean life to monitor the threat posed by acidification caused by dissolved carbon dioxide.

Insurance Co. ranks 2010 among worst for climate disasters  |  Scientific American
Climate change is a culprit in the long list of catastrophic natural disasters in 2010, according to insurance company Munich Re.

Severe weather, forecasting could prompt force majeure rethink  |  Vision
Worsening weather and better forecasting methods could push the mining sector to change force majeure provisions in supply contracts and sharpen how blame is allotted when storms or floods disrupt regular business.

US medical groups warn of climate change health impacts  |  Business Week
More asthma, heat waves and microbial disease could result if greenhouse gases aren't curbed  


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


2.03 ppm per year
parts per million

Atmospheric CO2  |  Average Annual Rise  |  February 2002 - 2011

February 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.   

 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.”

 12.0 °C

100-Year Average Global Surface Temperature  |  January 1901 - 2000

 12.4 °C

Average Global Surface Temperature  |  January 2011

January 2011 is the 17th warmest January on record (since 1880).  January 2007 is the warmest on record.  

Preliminary data reported February 15, 2011 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.”

 389.85 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  February 2010  |  Mauna Loa Observatory

Data reported March 8, 2011 by NOAA-ESRL

391.76 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  February 2011  |  Mauna Loa Observatory

Preliminary data reported March 8, 2011 by NOAA-ESRL

805 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  Projection for Year 2100

This scientific projection, based on an analysis on March 4, 2011, 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 | March 1, 2011

More than 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



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.

If you would like to give feedback or a suggestion – or to make a correction – you are welcome to email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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