As atmospheric Carbon Dioxide levels break through 400 parts per million, Britons carry on wasting energy

Data released last week by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, suggests that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere are approaching 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history.

The daily CO2 level measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii stood at 399.72 ppm at the start of May.

Mauna Loa CO2 record April 2013

Mauna Loa CO2 record

The news has heightened concerns amongst scientists and climate advisors, as it is widely recognised that concentrations of carbon dioxide will need to be kept below 350 ppm to avoid catastrophic climate change.

According to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, scientists have come to regard the Pliocene era, the era between five million and three million years ago, as the most recent period in history when the atmosphere’s heat-trapping ability was as it is now and “thus our guide for things to come”.

Recent estimates suggest CO2 levels reached as much as 415 ppm during the Pliocene era, which created global average temperatures that eventually reached 3 or 4 degrees Celsius higher than today’s and as much as 10 degrees Celsius warmer at the poles. Sea level ranged between five and 40 meters (16 to 131 feet) higher than today, it says.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography geologist Richard Norris, said the concentration of CO2 is one means of comparison, but what is not comparable, and more significant, is the speed at which 400 ppm is being surpassed today.

Does anyone care?

Despite this, energy wasting amongst Britons remains high although 80% claim they do consider energy saving measures, according to the latest Government figures.

Published last week, the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) latest public attitudes tracker, which surveys more than 2,000 people, found that 67% of people admit to at least occasionally boiling the kettle with more water than they intend to use.

It also found that 52% leave lights on when they are not in the room and just over 50% said they leave the heating on when they go out for a few hours.

Very disturbingly only 5% saw climate change as the top challenge, while 6% cited security of energy supply as Britain’s main challenge today.

Edie report here

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