Unfortunately,the younger you are, the more CO2 there was in the atmosphere the year you were born. Carbon dioxide measurements in the Earth's atmosphere threaten to become an ignominious hallmark of the time in which we live, because if in past times - we are talking about millions of years ago - these were exceptionally high, it is proven that the current levels are our work, of the humans that inhabit the Earth; she did not want.
As if it were the carbon 14 test - the one used to date organisms up to 50,000 years old and which, in a very simplistic way, works by calculating the part of this radioactive isotope that the body has shed, to compare it with the amount that all living beings have without exception at the same level while we are alive; knowing at what rate carbon-14 is lost, theage of the subject being studied—, today we could almost count our age in the amount of CO2 that was in the atmosphere in the year we were born.Check yours but what exactly do these numbers mean?
Amount of CO2 in the atmosphere per year
|Year||CO2 ppm||Year||CO2 ppm||Year||CO2 ppm|
Data collected by NASA from different sources over the years. From 2000 to 2017, the average for April of each year reported by the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii has been used.
First, the unit of measure. The parts per million represent the number of units that exist of a given substance for every million substances that fit in a specific volume, a cubic meter; It is like a percentage, but instead of being measured at one point per 100 it is calculated at one point per million. "At a global level,we had marked the 400 units per million as the red line that we should not exceed“, Explains Tatiana Nuño, head of Greenpeace's Climate Change campaign. "Unfortunately, in May 2014 this limit was crossed in a timely manner and already in 2016 we have exceeded it in the annual average". This is currently measured from an observatory located on Mauna Loa, Hawaii, where they then do the average calculations for the atmosphere of the entire globe.
We would like to be able to explain the impact of these growths on the number of kittens that die for every unit per million of CO2 we add to the atmosphere. It's not possible. “What we do know is that carbon dioxide is agreenhouse gas and that is closely related to the temperature of the Earth ”, says Nuño. This translates into rising sea levels that are already engulfing islands and threatening populations, impacts on agricultural production, reduction of the ozone layer, more extreme temperatures (colder in winter and heat in summer), expansion of the diseases, and irreversible changes in the ecosystem.
With current growth, we have increased the planet's temperature by one degree centigrade, but that is globally. In the Mediterranean, we have grown by 1.4ºC. According to a report from the Ministry of the Environment, 80% of the Spanish territory could become a desert in this century if we do not stop global warming; a fact endorsed by an important study by the scientific director of the Mediterranean Institute for Diversity and Ecology in Aix-en-Provence, Wolfgang Cramer.
Spain is at the center ofclimate changeWhat about the Spanish? According to World Bank data, each of us emitted 1.6 metric tons in 1960 and after reaching a peak of 8.1 in 2005, we now throw out 5.1 metric tons per head, somewhat above the world average. which is at 5; yes, below the euro zone (6.8) and the European Union (6.7). The country that emits the most CO2 is Qatar, with 37.8 metric tons per inhabitant, and Luxembourg is striking, a country somewhat larger than the island of Tenerife, with emissions of 18.7 metric tons per head.
I used the calculator from the Carbon Footprint Project Group, from the University of Warwick, in England, to try to measure my impact: only in electricity and in moving I generate about 6,476 kilograms of CO2 per year; As I eat meat, I have to add 350 kilograms a year, and for shopping I emit 201 kilograms a year. To know if it is a lot or a little we would need several comments from readers with their results. If every year of my life, I had emitted 5 tons of CO2, referring to today's data from the World Bank, I am responsible for 180,000 kilos of CO2 on Earth. Trump has emitted around 1,136,000 kilos of CO2 in his life (average tons per capita in his country multiplied by his age and by 1,000 to convert it into kilograms).
Another thing I have learned: I emit more than a cork oak tree is capable of cleaning (4,537 kilos per year), according to a study by the University of Seville carried out in 2007, although less than it canclean an Aleppo pine (48,870) or a stone pine (27,180). I alone have needed 6.6 stone pines to clean my emissions. Of course, Trump has required 41.7 trees of that species.
According to the Spanish Society of Forest Sciences in our country there were 17,804 million trees in September 2009, but according to a report from the Postdam Climate Impact Research Institute (Germany), planting a tree is no longer the smartest strategy to combat climate change, as they are no longer capable of capturing the amount of CO2 that we need to subtract from the atmosphere:you have to stop broadcasting.
For those who wonder if their small contribution can do something or if this is more a matter of governments and industries, Nuño recalls that "of course everything counts: We can change policies by changing the habits of the population, for example." Leaving the mobile phone charger in the socket can not only cost you about 40 euros a year: much worse, they emit 250,000 tons of CO2 a year. The University of Warwick provides thesepractical data:
Easy things to save with
|Action||Kilos of CO2 per year|
|Turn off the lights when you leave the room||370|
|Lower the thermostat one degree||250|
|Change the old freezer for a more efficient one||140|
|Change the old boiler for a condensing one||700|
|Switch to a green electricity tariff||1.420|
|Walking instead of driving (5 kilometers)||600|
|Carpool to go to work||730|
|Make one big purchase instead of many small ones||600|
|Switch to public transport||2.900|
|Ask to bring the groceries home||700|
|Put energy efficient light bulbs throughout the house||80|
|Put a thermal insulator on the walls||860|
|Going for a run instead of driving to the gym||600|
|Hang clothes outside instead of using the dryer||900|
|Work from home one day a week||880|
Data per person and year.
Source: Warwick University Carbon Footprint Project Group
By Idoia Sota