Atmospheric CO2 Hits All-time High at Hawaii Observation Post

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached another all-time high as measured at a longtime observation station in Hawaii, sources reported this week.

Several reports, including the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, revealed that CO2 measured at an historic 401.31 parts per million at the Mauna Loa Observatory on the island of Hawaii. The greenhouse gas measurement was an average for April and is the highest ever recorded by the station.

Worldwide demand for energy last year climbed 2.1 percent, more than twice the previous year’s rate, according to the International Energy Agency.

A Tuesday article on the website of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California-San Diego said the measurements at Mauna Loa have been recorded since 1958. The first data observed greenhouse gases at about 315 parts per million 60 years ago, according to the report.

The data exceeded 400 ppm for the first time in 2013 and rose to 410 last year, according to reports.

Many scientific observers blame the rise in CO2 on the burning of fossil fuels, including in power generation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that 28.4 percent of 2016 greenhouse gas emissions nationwide are generated from electricity production, while transportation accounted for nearly 29 percent and industrial activities 22 percent.

Most environmental authorities, including the latest EPA report on accumulated greenhouse gases, says the gases contribute to climate change both directly and indirectly. The latest data from 2016 indicates that total gross U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totaled more than 6.5 million metric tons, a decrease of 1.9 percent from the previous year but a rise of 2.4 percent over the previous 16 years, according to the EPA.

Global greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels have grown from about 700 million metric tons in 1900 to more than 10,000 million metric tons. NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies reported that the world’s average temperature has jumped 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8C) since 1880, with two-thirds of that upward heating trend happening in the past four decades.

U.S. power utilities such as Duke Energy and Exelon Corp. have announced sustainability plans to seeks to reduce their carbon footprint both through clean energy projects and efficiency programs.

The EPA under President Trump, however, last year put a stop on implementation of the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era edict that would have pushed the power generation sector to cut CO2 emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.


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