never in modern history has there been so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as now

Neither the Paris Agreements nor the gradual process of migration to electric cars nor the pandemic The levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have decreased, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States (NOAA). A new report indicates that the upward trend in records that began in 1974 now point to a ratio of 419 parts per million, record made at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

Carbon dioxide emissions come from burning fuels fossils, which implies transport, industries and electricity generation, but also a good part comes from agriculture and livestock.

Back to 4.5 million years ago

They are in total 40,000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide which are released into the atmosphere year after yearAccording to Pieter Tans, a scientist at NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory. The last time the planet had a similar atmospheric load was 4.5 million years ago, when there were forests in areas of the Arctic that are now tundra.

At that time it is estimated that the atmosphere had more than 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Those were also times when the sea level was higher by 23 meters.

Although estimates are made from millions of years ago, what we know precisely about parts per million of carbon dioxide dates back to 63 years ago, when NOAA partnered with the University of California Institute of Oceanography to make independent observations and share analysis and results.

The place selected for the measurements is ideal: the observatory Long Mountain It is on an arid volcano in the Pacific Ocean where currents of mixed air, from which circulates through the oceans, to residues of local pollution in industrialized areas.

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The last time the planet had a similar atmospheric load was 4.5 million years ago, when there were forests in areas of the Arctic that are now tundra

Year after year, the month of May provides a crucial indicator, since it is the highest point in the greenhouse gas index, given that from May they decrease slightly due to the growth stage of plants and trees in the northern hemisphere . However, even with measurement variations, every year the levels of each month are higher than their similes in past years.

Only in June 2020 416 parts per million of carbon dioxide were estimated, three less than in 2021.

With data from Our world in data the planet was stable between 270 and 285 parts per million of carbon dioxide from the 1st to the 18th century, but the industrial revolution came to change everything. For the year 1900 194 ppm are estimated, for the year 1950 312 ppm, and for the year 2,000 369 ppm.

graph Atmospheric concentration of CO2 from the year 1252 to 2018.

The problem will not be solved even with the United States eliminating its carbon footprint by 2050 or China by 2060, depending on the goals that have been proposed. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 will not decrease immediately once emissions decrease. The time that C02 remains in the atmosphere is called residence time, and is calculated in several hundred years, depending on several factors, including how much CO2 the oceans and land absorb.

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So, from what we know so far, those concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will survive us without a problem. to the generations that are alive right now.

Mexico in the race to reduce CO2

Massive concentrations of carbon dioxide accelerate the greenhouse effect on the planet, which can lead to an increase in the average temperature of the planet, but also a drastic drop in temperature for some specific regions, as well as a greater number of natural disasters.

The most important global agreement to reduce and eventually stop massive emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere are the Paris Agreements, to which the United States recently rejoined, and of which Mexico is also a part.

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Mexico is in the race for our CO2 emissions to be low enough to cause an increase in temperature of two degrees Celsius, although the ideal goal is to limit it to a 1.5 degree increase. To do this, by 2050 must emit half the levels of carbon dioxide that was emitted in the year 2,000.

However, the prospects of the scientific grouping climate action tracker that monitors efforts related to the Paris Agreement is that the actions taken in Mexico to reduce emissions are “highly inefficient“, and they even detail that Mexico has only increased its emissions from 2016 to 2020. In 2016, emissions were 763 metric tons of carbon dioxide, but in 2020 they were 774 MtCO2e, that is, 1.4% more.

Although the goal does not stop looking further and further away, the most immediate objective for Mexico to focus on is 2030, which consists of reducing greenhouse effect emissions by 22%.

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