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350.org Founder McKibben Discusses Significance Of Record Atmospheric Carbon Levels

The Palace of Fine Arts and the San Francisco city skyline are obscured due t...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: The Palace of Fine Arts and the San Francisco city skyline are obscured due to smoke and haze from wildfires, Nov. 19, 2018. U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says wildfires in California in 2018 released roughly the same amount of carbon emissions as are produced each year to provide electricity to the state.

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Bill McKibben has been sounding the alarm about human-caused climate change for more than 30 years. He is the founder of the seminal environmental group 350.org, so named because 350 parts per million is considered the safe concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon concentrations surpassed 415 parts per million this week.

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Aired: May 16, 2019 | Transcript

Bill McKibben has been sounding the alarm about human-caused climate change for more than 30 years. He is the founder of the seminal environmental group 350.org, so named because 350 parts per million is considered the safe concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Photo credit: Photo by Nancie Battaglia

Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, in an undated photo.

This week concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has surpassed 415 parts per million. It's the highest level recorded in human history. Temperatures in the Arctic were in the mid-80s this week.

McKibben has a new book out called, “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?”

As part of coverage from the KPBS Climate Change Desk, McKibben joins Midday Edition Wednesday to talk about the significance of surpassing 415 parts carbon dioxide per million in the earth's atmosphere.

Scripps scientists measured a record level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: 415 parts per million, on Sunday, May 12, 2019. This daily record, the Keeling Curve, is considered the foundation of modern climate change research. Geochemist Charles David Keeling joined Scripps in 1956 and built a manometer and other equipment to isolate the carbon dioxide in air samples. In 1958, the average carbon dioxide concentration of the first measurement was 316.16 parts per million. In 2013, the CO2 concentration surpassed 400 ppm for the first time in human history.

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