Research from the Mauna Loa Observatory regarding carbon dioxide levels indicates that human-induced climate change is far more detrimental to Earth than was previously thought, and a blog post from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography reinforces this notion: “it already seems safe to conclude that we won’t be seeing a monthly value below 400 ppm this year—or ever again for the indefinite future.” Quite frankly, these levels could end up contributing to the realization of runaway greenhouse effect, which could easily result in the end of virtually all life on Earth, for thousands or even millions of years.
Despite being aware of this danger, and despite these levels already being reached in the arctic years ago, humanity has enabled the problem to worsen considerably. Scripps argues that these levels are likely only the tip of the iceberg (pun intended): it is “almost impossible” that we will experience lower levels of carbon dioxide at any point in the near future.
Basically, our only hope is that research like this will spur Earth’s normal inhabitants, business owners, and nation leaders into swift and meaningful action. The Paris Climate Accord Agreement represented the first significant hope in a long time, but Donald Trump recently pulled the United States out the pact—and even the hope regarding the Accord relied on many countries doing more than what was promised.
For anyone who has been paying attention, the global impact of human-induced climate change has been impossible to miss: species extinction is 1,000 times higher than it was before the presence of humans. In fact, World Wildlife estimates that approximately 10,000 species could go extinct every year, indefinitely. Furthermore, Nature Conservancy argues that 25% of all species on Earth could be extinct by 2050.
The consequences of human-induced climate change are chain reactions on top of chain reactions. Rising ocean temperatures hinder sea algae, which hinders zooplankton, which hinders cod, which hinders seals, which pushes polar bears closer to severe endangerment and extinction—ad infinitum. Winter temperatures in Alaska and parts of Canada have increased by 7° F, and as mentioned, these temperatures are only expected to rise higher more quickly.
When more ice, snow, and permafrost melts, thermal expansion occurs, coastal areas flood, and human beings must abandon their homes and communities. Even though Earth’s oceans can absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide, even the oceans have limits, and their waters will eventually acidify and lead to mass extinction independently. As has been outlined elsewhere, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has experienced extensive bleaching and dying: even if coral polyps grow into new reef, much of this damage is irreparable.
Please spread awareness and reduce your own personal carbon footprint as much as humanly possible.
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/z43wpx/goodbye-world-weve-passed-the-carbon-tipping-point-for-good.