400 ppm: A Dangerous Pollution Milestone Has Been Passed

On Friday, May 10th, 2013 in Press Releases

400 ppmThe concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has reached the 400 parts per million (ppm) milestone today according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Over the last million years, CO2 never exceeded 280 ppm (based on actual readings of atmospheric chemistry from Antarctic ice core data.) Concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) are a very different measurement than emission rates. Concentrations have a very long lag time and will not be able to be decreased except over centuries, while emission rates can go down overnight. It is critical to start reducing emissions, because existing concentrations mean that we will see warming over the next 100 years from today’s emissions.

Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May and Dr. Andrew Weaver, a BC Green Party candidate running in the upcoming provincial election, believe that this unwanted milestone in the climate saga could be a turning point towards clean technology to reverse this trend.

“We are in a danger zone as we hit 400 ppm.  We must move to immediate reductions in GHG, and shift to new clean technologies,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands.

May recently tabled a private member’s bill to cap the carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired plants.

“It’s clear that emissions from these plants are some of the most dangerous for the planet. Using clean technologies that exist today can help us move into the 21st century,” said May.

There is a consensus in the scientific community that greenhouse gases should be limited to levels that would avoid allowing global average temperatures to rise by 2 degrees Celsius.  Scientists have marked that wide red line in a band from 425-450 ppm.

Climate scientist and Deputy Green Party Leader of British Columbia, Dr. Andrew Weaver, says this moment can bring a new economic reality to BC.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/josh.buzzell.11 Josh Buzzell

    I’m turning 18 tomorrow. And what the world has given for my birthday is a bigger problem to worry about as my future and the future of my generation seems to look darker and darker each day. As compensation, I can tell you, that I will be casting my first vote in the next Federal election, and that vote, will be for the Green Party of Canada.

    Thank you Elizabeth May and everyone who is party of Canada’s Green party for your hard work to provide my generation with a future.

    • Gord B.

      Good choice lad!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Petrus-Laredes/555119066 Petrus Laredes

      As much as I’d like to tell you otherwise, voting for a green party won’t help. In Australia there was a radical environmentalist and Leftist named Peter Garrett, who ended up becoming the federal Environment Minister for the Left party here. He sold out almost the moment he got the position, and started doing what the corporations wanted.

      Anyone can be bought. Anyone.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Hotter Kevin Koyle

        Don’t group in the Green Party with anyone else! If everyone only ever thought “well it won’t work” we wouldn’t get anywhere.

      • Every Sane Person

        Voting for the Green Party won’t help because Man-Made Global Warming is a hoax.

        • elevenone

          Science (of all sorts) is inherently skeptical because the initial assumption is always the null-hypothesis. In other words, the onus is on the scientist to prove that something IS happening and IS meaningful, versus not. Hoaxes and fabricated data and such are possible, but tend to get swept aside when other scientists’ results fail to support them. That hasn’t happened in the case of climate change. It would take an impossibly widespread and lengthy hoax to encompass so much scientific work and so many experts. The evidence for anthropogenic aggravation of climate change comes from several divergent lines of research and has been considered and commented on for decades. By this point it is considered convincing by 97% of climate experts around the world.



    • http://www.facebook.com/Hotter Kevin Koyle

      I’m 23 now turning 24 and I’ve been voting for the Green Party since I turned 18! You and the future of the country and world will benefit by this, one day. Hopefully people start to open their eyes sooner rather then later. But the more youth who join the cause; the better!

  • M L Stathers

    Look at all the expensive heat bleeding out of the massive glass window-walls of this northern country. As long as windows don’t have the R-value of the insulated walls, the heat will continue to bleed. AND the hot summer sun will continue to over-heat the interiors, leading to expensive air-conditioning!!!! I believe Europeans continue to install effective shutters. Also, why is it so unfashionable to have insulating drapes???? Stupidity, eh?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004951685059 Richard Meaden

    So I guess that the rise of ppm in the world is the fault of the Harper’s gov.

    • William Tomlinson

      The fault in Harper’s government is its complete indifference to the certainty of climatic and environmental catastrophe if we continue on our current course, at our current rate.

  • Eronne Foster

    BC can do its part. Stop exporting coal. Stop the pipeline. Dedicate our tax dollars to renewal energy – hemp fuel and others. We can’t support the environment and earn money from destroying it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004951685059 Richard Meaden

    Jack Mintz: Canada unfairly Gored

    ‘Which country has proportionately reduced more CO2 emissions since 2005, Canada or the U.S.? If you think it is Al Gore’s native country, you are dead wrong. Canada has lowered CO2 emissions from 2005 to 2011 by 11.4% compared to 8.5% by the United States in the same period.’

    ‘As shown in the accompanying table, Canada’s record in reducing CO2 emissions has been more exemplary than that of many other countries since 2005. Our proportionate reduction in the years 2005-11 is more than that managed by Europe and Japan. It is almost the same as Germany’s and less than the U.K.’s.’


  • Jyah Flam

    Is it just me or is this graph misleading? A classic clash between science and politics!

  • Lydia Burton

    So sad that this had to be discovered in Hawaii, one of the last spots of paradise on earth.

    • Meliora Cogito

      Actually Mauna Loa was chosen as a monitoring site because, located
      far from any continent (where sample data collected could be tainted by localized industrial emissions), the air sampled in Hawaii is a good average indicator for
      the central Pacific. Being at 3’400 m (over 11’000 ft) altitude, it is above any inversion layers where most of the local effects of CO2 emission are present. Any CO2 emissions from the
      local volcanic sources (that might taint the sample data) are detected at the observatory, measured and removed from the background data.

  • Pteros

    Hi Elizabeth. I just heard the Georgetown speech on climate change.
    President Obama must have heard “Man Shall Follow.”https://soundcloud.com/rick-masters/man-shall-follow

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