The Keeling Curve is important as it measures the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. It keeps rising as the graph illustrates. The data has been collated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography since 1958 when the level was approximately 315.
Why is this important?
Well the SAFE LEVEL of CO2 in the atmosphere is deemed to be 350, which was passed in the late-1980’s. This heightened awareness about climate change resulting in the Earth Summit at Rio de Janerio in 1992 and subsequently the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change. The inextricable rise of the graph indicates a growth of between one and two points per year (the long term trend is 1.5 ppm increase per year), and this trend is accelerating. It needs to be reversed, hence the initiatives to reduce carbon in the atmosphere (CO2 is not the only contributor to climate change)
So, what happens if it’s not reversed?
Well there is a TIPPING POINT of CO2 in the atmosphere which is deemed to be
beyond which level of atmospheric C02 will be irreversible. At the rate of increase in the late 1980’s this was anticipated to be 2050. Hence the Kyoto Protocol and commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. However, the rate is increasing; for the past decade it’s been 2ppm per year, so we are likely to reach tipping point sooner – 25 years or 2040!
Whilst we might be undertaking plenty of initiatives to reduce carbon, we as a planet are still producing more carbon. With, inter alia, population rise and the transition of less developed countries, the demand for carbon-producing activities continues to rise.
The rise of CO2 in the atmosphere is not abating and suddenly
2050 2040 is not so far away. It’s now 25 years since we broke through the safe limit, and unless we continue to act now, the prospects for future generations should the tipping point be reached are bleak.
Are we / are you doing enough?