“We Don’t Know A Planet Like This” – Atmospheric CO2 Levels Keep Rising

Written by volunteer Kim Mullen

Another record has been set in our climate crisis. For the first time in the modern life of the planet, atmospheric CO2 levels have reached over 415 ppm, recorded at 415.26 ppm on 5/11 by the scientists at the Mauna Loa Observatory on Hawaii island.


As you may know, our history and mission are directly tied to these numbers. Scientists tell us that 350 parts per million (ppm) is the safe upper limit of CO2 in the atmosphere. The number 350 means climate safety: to preserve a livable planet. 350.org was named after this number, with the goal of keeping global levels below 350 ppm.

“This is the first time in human history our planet’s atmosphere has had more than 415 ppm CO2,” said meteorologist and climate scientist Eric Holthaus. “Not just in recorded history, not just since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago. Since before modern humans existed millions of years ago. We don’t know a planet like this.”

The new numbers concern scientists, as records show CO2 levels are getting higher quicker than predicted. In addition, scientists are expecting carbon dioxide levels will increase faster in 2019 than in the last two years, adding to the urgency of battling the climate crisis.

Ralph Keeling, the director of the carbon dioxide program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which runs the Mauna Loa lab with NOAA, said the recent rapid rise is, “not surprising with the combination of weak El Nino conditions and unprecedented emissions from fossil-fuel burning.”

Scientists note that Earth’s atmosphere hasn’t contained extreme levels of carbon dioxide in more than three million years. Back then, the average temperature of the globe was higher ― and Antarctica had forests.

World Environment Day is fast approaching and it is time to take action.

We believe that a global grassroots movement can lead the way and hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice. We highlight this news to inspire you to continue taking action every day to help solve this crisis. Now more than ever, your support is needed. We need big changes in our personal habits and global policy, help us get there with a donation during our People Power Money Shower. Click here to make your contribution!