Human history has never seen carbon dioxide levels this high

Pollution in New Delhi, India's capital, during winterBCCL

  • The Keeling Curve in Hawaii officially recorded carbon dioxide levels hitting 415ppm for the first time in human history.
  • The last time carbon dioxide levels were this high, trees were growing at the South Pole.
  • According Ralph Keeling, Director of the program, analyses, "This increase is just not sustainable in terms of energy use and in terms of what we are doing to the planet."
The planet continues to roast itself as carbon dioxide levels hit an all-time high.

The Keeling Curve, a graph that keeps a record of all the carbon dioxide that's being accumulated in the Earth's atmosphere, just recorded that the harmful gas has breached 415 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history.

Every year it goes up like this we should be saying 'No, this shouldn't be happening. It’s not normal.'

Ralph Keeling, Director of the Scripps CO2 Program


The higher the ppm, the higher the concentration of the substance — in this case, it's the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air.

Eric Holthas, a meteorologist, clarified on Twitter that this doesn't just mean from before recorded history but from before humans came into existence.

In fact, the last time the levels of carbon dioxide were this high, there were trees growing at the South Pole.

Scientists had already predicted that this day would come, or as Thanos would say, it was "inevitable."


There seems to be no going back

The observations are recorded by the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. Their data shows that the upward trend in carbon dioxide levels shows no signs of slowing down. Between 2016 to 2017, the levels escalated from 400ppm to 410ppm within a year.

Keeling Curve records carbon dioxide levels breaching 415 for the first timeScripps Institution of Oceanography at UC

The director of the Scripps CO2 program in Hawaii, Ralph Keeling, analyses, "The average growth rate is remaining on the high end. The increase from last year will probably be around three parts per million whereas the recent average has been 2.5 ppm."


This increase is just not sustainable in terms of energy use and in terms of what we are doing to the planet.

Ralph Keeling, Director of the Scripps CO2 Program

Despite numerous treaties and projects, the goals for clean energy as far from being met. Mike Waldron, an International Energy Agency(IEA) investment analyst, said, "Governments have not clearly committed, nor have they clearly not committed to reaching the Paris Agreement goals."

According to the IEA, if countries want to meet their climate goals they have to double their spending on renewable power and taper down on how much they invest in coal and oil.

See also:

How many carbon emission you can actually save by doing these 10 things

We’re altering the climate so severely that we’ll soon apocalyptic repercussions — sucking carbon dioxide out of the air could save us

Here’s what Earth might look like in 100 years — if we’re lucky