Global Mean Carbon Dioxide Levels
Carbon dioxide is released from burning fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which means it warms the atmosphere. An amount of this is required to heat the Earth, but humans are pushing it past the limit.
Carbon dioxide is directly released and causes warmer average temperatures, causing catastrophic climate events.
Carbon dioxide is released the most out of all the greenhouse gases, with 37.1 gigatons released in 2018.
Global Mean Carbon Dioxide Levels (ppm)
What the numbers mean
parts per million (ppm)
Parts per million means that for every million molecules in the atmosphere, there are 411.77 molecules of carbon dioxide. Before the Industrial Revolution, when carbon dioxide levels were at a good number, it was 280 ppm. Over the past million years, carbon dioxide levels have never exceeded 300 ppm. Scientists estimate that we need to get back below 350 ppm of carbon dioxide to avoid catastrophic climate change, which can be done through both getting to net zero emissions and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.