Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Earth Records Highest CO2 Levels Amid US Heat Wave

The amount of planet-warming carbon dioxide in the atmosphere just reached a new record high, a stark reminder that humans are still struggling to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use. This grim milestone comes as a wave of extreme heat is scorching the United States, the direct result of a ramping climate crisis.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on

Tens of millions of Americans face the first major heat wave of the year, with temperatures 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above average for this time of year. A relentless temperature well over 100 degrees struck in the Southwest.

Scientists point strictly to man-made climate change as the origin of such an extended and excessive amount of heat. The enhanced frequency of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere acts like a blanket, exaggerating and subsequently extending heat waves, in addition to feeding other extreme weather events, from powerful hurricanes to heavy rainfall.

“Over the past year, we’ve experienced the hottest year on record, the hottest ocean temperatures on record, and a seemingly endless string of heat waves, droughts, floods, wildfires, and storms,” said Rick Spinrad, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “We must recognize that these are clear signals of the damage carbon dioxide pollution is doing to the climate system, and take rapid action to reduce fossil fuel use as quickly as we can.”

but in May, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere hit nearly 427 parts per million at an observatory in Hawaii. That is an increase of about 3 parts per million from its peak value for the same time last year, making it one of the largest annual jumps on record.

The duly relentless increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is a very loud raspberry to the global call to action, as it is directly related to human activities through the burning of fossil fuels. While the U.S. did experience a slight decline in GHG emissions last year, these reductions are not nearly enough to meet the Biden administration’s set targets for climate change.

The rate of controlling warming pollution is way too far behind globally. Today’s concentration of CO2 was never higher than at any point in millions of years, thus showing the urgency to shift to renewable sources of energy and decrease dependence on fossil fuels.

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