Greenhouse gas levels have crossed dangerous threshold

This is very important if somewhat unsettling news. An interview conducted last night by Australia’s ABC with Professor Tim Flannery; a conservation scientist and Australian of the Year, is very sobering and underlines the need for an increased sense of urgency relating to addressing global warming.

Professor Flannery has revealed an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report due be released in November shows the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere crossed the threshold considered dangerous in mid 2005. The levels are far worse than were previously predicted in IPCC worst case scenarios – they weren’t expected to reach this extreme for a decade.

Carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas – there’s around 30, including methane and nitrous oxide. Some of these gases have far higher GWP (global warming potential) than carbon dioxide. According to Professor Flannery, when all these gases are taken into account, the figures from mid-2005 showed atmospheric levels of 455 parts per million carbon dioxide equivalent.

450 parts per million is the figure considered to be the threshold at which dangerous climate change would be unavoidable – and I think we have already seen many examples to confirm huge disturbances to climate around the world in the last couple of years; far outside of historical norms.

The bottom line is, there is no time left for governments to engage in long winded talks spanning over years – the focus needs to be on action. Equally as important is that we not wait for governments to complete their debates and tell us what to do. More than ever, we need to take it upon ourselves to learn more about changing our lifestyles to lessen our environmental impact; and to help others do the same.

While we may not be able to avoid some of nature’s backlash in the years ahead, we’re all in this together and collectively we can certainly take steps to prevent an even more catastrophic level of climate related events.

You can read more here. The article has accompanying video of the full interview with Professor Flannery


Learn more about other greenhouse gases