Exxon predicted in 1982 exactly how high global carbon emissions would be today | The company expected that, by 2020, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would reach roughly 400-420 ppm. This month’s measurement of 415 ppm is right within the expected curve Exxon projected

Exxon predicted in 1982 exactly how high global carbon emissions would be today | The company expected that, by 2020, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would reach roughly 400-420 ppm. This month’s measurement of 415 ppm is right within the expected curve Exxon projected

  • The concentration of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere reached an unprecedented level this month.
  • The last time scientists believe it may have been this high was 2.5 to 5 million years ago during the Pliocene epoch, when sea levels were 25 meters higher than today and global temperatures were warmer by 2-3 degrees Celsius.
  • Unlike back then the record carbon dioxide emissions being recorded now are the result of humans burning fossil fuels, which releases harmful heat-trapping pollution into the atmosphere.
  • According to an internal 1982 document from Exxon Research and Engineering Company – obtained by InsideClimate News as part of its 2015 investigation into what Exxon knew about the impact of fossil fuels on climate change – the company was modeling out the concentration of carbon emissions several years into the future.
  • According to a graph displaying the “Growth of atmospheric CO2 and average global temperature increase” over time, the company expected that, by 2020, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would reach roughly 400 to 420 ppm.
  • The record carbon emissions recorded this month indicate things will most likely continue to get worse; carbon remains in the atmosphere for a long time, meaning it continues to warm the world long after it is emitted.
  • “That means we have to act dramatically, now, to lower global carbon emissions if we are to avert catastrophic climate change impacts.”