In April 2014 atmospheric carbon dioxide levels exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time in recorded history. The readings are taken hourly at Mauna Loa in Hawaii and updated daily on the NOAA website and as of 11th January 2018 are already at a value of 408.74 ppm
The “Keeling curve,” overseen by Scripps, is the longest continuous record of CO2 measurements. The measurements were started in the late 1950s by Charles David Keeling on the Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, accepted as being fairly representative of the level of CO2 around the world.
Increasing amounts of CO2 and other gases caused by the burning of the oil, gas and coal that power the planet are enhancing the natural “greenhouse effect,” causing the planet to warm to levels that climate scientists say can’t be linked to natural forces. Interestingly (worryingly) despite worldwide reductions in carbon emissions through legislation, the carbon content in earth’s air is continuing to rise!
Carbon dioxide levels were about 280 ppm before the Industrial Revolution, when humans first began releasing large amounts into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. When Keeling first began his measurements in the 1950’s, the amount of carbon dioxide was 316 ppm.
In direct relationship ocean acidification is also on the rise. It’s estimated that ocean acidity levels have increased by as much as 30 percent as a result of our fuel burning activities.
C02 is also produced by plants. CO2 levels peak in the northern hemisphere spring when plants come alive, then drop when the plants die in the autumn.
By us South Africans reducing the energy consumption utilised in the new properties we design we reduce the damage/ impact caused by the amount of coal that ESKOM has to burn, and the amount of carbon thus released into the atmosphere, in order to produce electricity. Of course all this could be mitigated in an instant if the Government implemented an agenda for more solar or wind farms rather than archaically burning fossil fuels to generate power!?