CO2 levels are measured at several locations around the world, but the longest record is on top of a volcanic peak in the Hawaiian Island (Mauna Loa). As you can see from the record there (kept by NOAA), the rise in CO2 has been going on since the last 1950s, when record keeping began there.
But if you really want to be impressed, here are the CO2 levels for the last 800 thousand years, with the information before 1958 coming from the analysis of the CO2 concentrations of air trapped in ancient ice. CO2 is higher now than at ANY time in the history of our species. That gets you thinking.
With all the wind farms and solar collection units being put into service, surely the CO2 increases are slowing, right? Unfortunately, as show by the figure below, the OPPOSITE is happening, with the rate of CO2 concentrations increasing faster and faster. We are not only losing ground, but we are losing ground more quickly.
That is why I am supporting Washington State's I732 carbon tax swap, which will put a tax on carbon, but refund all the proceeds to WA State citizens. I 732 is a bipartisan effort that could spread throughout the U.S. This will not only reduce the emission of CO2 in the U.S., but will greatly foster the development of energy technologies that could be exported to the rest of the world. Think of all the technologies that started in our creative country and then were exported abroad. We can do it again with energy conservation and generation technologies.
Although passing the 400 ppm is nothing to celebrate, it does provide a reason to pause and think about what we have done to our atmosphere and the profound implications such a rapid CO2 rise has for our climate and survival as a species.
Unfortunately, some major environment groups such as the Sierra Club, the Washington Environmental Council, and The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, as well as carbon-loving business groups like the Association of Washington Businesses don't seem to understand the seriousness of the current situation. Hopefully, Washington State voters will understand that the time for playing politics and self-interest are past and will vote for I-732 in large numbers.