Atmospheric CO2 levels have hit 417 ppm, the highest level in about three million years and that means the highest level in human history.
Here's the thing. Nature isn't nearly as efficient as humans at screwing everything up. We've achieved the latest record in just a couple of centuries. The natural impacts of what we've done will be unfolding for a few centuries only there's a fair chance we won't be around to see how this ends.
The last time the atmospheric carbon dioxide was this high, sea level was 50 to 80 feet higher than it is today and 3.6°–5.4°F warmer than pre-industrial temperatures. There is a delay in the physical response of a forced increase in carbon dioxide to temperature and sea level, meaning this acts as a benchmark for where we are likely headed into the future.
Think of it as an over-inflated balloon. Everyone knows it's about to burst but we just can't bring ourselves to stop blowing more air into it. And we're the most knowledgeable, affluent, powerful and technologically advanced creatures ever, the very zenith of life on Earth. Kind of a giggle, isn't it?
“Well-understood physics tells us that the increasing levels of greenhouse gases are heating Earth’s surface, melting ice and accelerating sea-level rise,” said Pieter Tans, senior scientist with NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory. “If we do not stop greenhouse gases from rising further, especially CO2, large regions of the planet will become uninhabitable.”We are going to see some amazing changes unfold before this decade is out.