Not Doomed Yet is The Atlantic’s new weekly newsletter about global warming. It lives here in the science section; you can also get it in your inbox.
Hey there. Many of you joined since last week. I’m not sure if you need a synopsis, but, just in case, here’s one:
I worry about climate change. I think it’s the most pressing political issue of our time, yet it is not, in its contours as a story, particularly political. In the U.S. presidential campaign, nearly everything newsworthy is something someone said or did or broadcast. Everything newsworthy, in other words, is a story. With climate, long-running trends continue until they’re interrupted. I want to pay attention to those trends beyond reading individual reports. I want to fit the strange world—where atmospheric CO₂ is at its highest levels in perhaps 25 million years—into the one I live in, where the local deli makes passable coffee, where I wonder every morning whether I’m actually taking the fastest commute, and where the tree outside my window bears the early golden hints of autumn. As I wrote last week, this is an experiment in that desire. Because even though I bounce from home to work to home, the macro-trends do not really change. They are:
The atmosphere is filling with greenhouse gases. The Mauna Loa Observatory measured 397.23 CO₂ molecules per million in the atmosphere this week. A year ago, it measured 394.79 ppm. Ten years ago, it measured 376.43 ppm.
Anything below 350 ppm is considered generally safe. That’s where atmospheric carbon stood about 22 years ago.