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Sun May 26, 2019, 09:42 AM

We Apparently Reached the Annual High for Atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa Last Week, 415.39 ppm.

Each year, the maximal value for carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere for a particular year is observed in the Northern Hemisphere's spring. The Mauna Loa Observatory reports weekly year to year increases for each week of the current year compared to the same week in the previous year.

This year, in 2019, as is pretty much the case for the entire 21st century, these maxima represent the highest concentrations of carbon dioxide ever recorded going back to 1958, when the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory first went into operation. Weekly data is available on line, however, only going back to the week of May 25, 1975, when the reading was 332.98 ppm.

The new data is posted on line on Sundays.

Here is this week's data:

Week beginning on May 19, 2019: 414.74 ppm
Weekly value from 1 year ago: 411.44 ppm
Weekly value from 10 years ago: 390.53 ppm
Last updated: May 26, 201

Up-to-date weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa

The increase over 1 year ago is 3.30. As of this writing, there have been 2,260 such weekly readings recorded at Mauna Loa, going back to 1975. This increase is "only" the 100th highest ever recorded among all of these, placing it in the 96th percentile for "worst ever."

However it is lower than last week's figure, which was 415.39 ppm, meaning that the annual maximum has likely been reached.

In 2019, with the year not half over, 7 of the 50 highest year to year weekly average increases ever recorded have been in 2019.

In the 19 year period from April of 1975 to 1994, roughly corresponding to the 19 year period between 2001 and 2019, there were 13 readings of this type greater than 3.00 ppm. From 2001 to 2019, there have been 124 such readings.

In the 20th century these figures averaged 1.54 ppm; in the 21st, 2.13 ppm (and rising).

The value recorded last week, 415.39 ppm, was the highest weekly average reading ever reported at the Mauna Loa Observatory, significantly higher than the previous week's reading which was also a record until broken a week later.

In 2018, the peak was reached on the week ending on May 13, and was 411.85 ppm. For those who need help adding and subtracting, the difference is 3.54 ppm.

If this figure for a difference were to hold throughout the year, 2019 would represent a record breaking year by far. The record increase observed in a single year, 2015, was 3.05. For 2016 it was 2.99 ppm, the second worst year ever recorded. (It is unlikely that the annual increase will be 3.54 ppm, since the data is likely to smooth out.)

If the fact that this week's reading is 24.21 ppm higher than it was ten years ago bothers you, don't worry, be happy. You can read all about how wonderful things will be "by 2050" or "by 2100." Wind. Solar. Elon Musk. Tesla Car. And all that.

If you're even a tiny bit troubled, head on over to the E&E forum and read all about "battery breakthroughs" to store "clean energy" even if this ignores little unimportant trivialities like the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and the fact that making steel for massive wind industrial parks in former pristine wildernesses is neither clean nor, in fact, sustainable, since the amount of coal to make a kg of steel is 770 grams, roughly.

Or you can read all about wonderful perovskite solar cells laced with cesium, lead and iodine that, despite the lead, are definitely "green," since it goes without saying (or in my opinion, thinking) that anytime the word "solar" is mentioned, it requires a rote Pavlovian response of "green."

Personally as a scientist, I find the proposal to use distributed lead to make so called "distributed energy" borders on insane, but who am I to rain on a popular/populist parade? What is popular is often defined as good, logical fallacies be damned.

I repeat:

My impression that I've been hearing all about how rapidly bird and bat grinding wind turbines and magic solar cells are being installed since I began writing here in 2002, when the reading on April 21, 2002 was 375.42 ppm should not disturb you, since it is better to think everything is fine rather than focus on reality.

All this jawboning about the wonderful growth of so called "renewable energy" has had no effect on climate change, is having no effect on climate change, and won't have any effect on climate change, but it's not climate change that counts: It's all that wonderful marketing showing pictures giant sleek wind turbines on steel posts that counts.

Feel good...feel good. Say nice things. Be pleasant.

If the fact that steel is made by coking coal at high temperatures in coal fired furnaces enters your mind, I suggest you meditate and say, "OM...Om...Om...Om..." until you're only left with happy thoughts.

At the risk of repetitively asserting that reality - as opposed to cheering for our own wishful thinking - matters, though let me say again:

In this century, the solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal energy on which people so cheerfully have bet the entire planetary atmosphere, stealing the future from all future generations, grew by 8.12 exajoules to 10.63 exajoules. World energy demand in 2017 was 584.98 exajoules. Unquestionably it will be higher in 2019.

10.63 exajoules is under 2% of the world energy demand.

2018 Edition of the World Energy Outlook Table 1.1 Page 38 (I have converted MTOE in the original table to the SI unit exajoules in this text.)

According to this report, the fastest growing source of energy on the planet in the 21st century over all was coal, which grew from 2000 to 2017 by 60.25 exajoules to 157.01 exajoules.

If you think that unlike you, I am worrying and not being happy, you can always chant stuff about how "by 2050" or "by 2075" or "by 2100" we'll all live in a so called "renewable energy" nirvana powered by the sun and the wind and tooling around in Tesla electric cars.

I'll be dead "by 2050," as will most of the people doing such soothsaying about that magic year, but I'm sure that the future generation living through 2050 will all be cheering for our perspicaciousness.

Or maybe not. Maybe they won't forgive us for our wishful thinking by which we casually dumped responsibility on them to do what we were purely incompetent to do ourselves, this while we consumed every last drop of rare elements to live in our bourgeois moral hell.

We will not be forgiven, nor should we be.

I wish you a pleasant work week.

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