Data from the Mauna Loa Observatory on the Big Island shows “concerning news” about the state of the Earth’s environment, according to KITV and other media reports.

Carbon dioxide levels are the highest seen in all of human existence.

Scientists say the high levels are due in part to the burning of fossil fuels and cutting down of forests by humans.

Mauna Loa NOAA Observatory.

The NOAA observatory on top of Mauna Loa.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“So why is so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere a bad thing? Experts say it prevents Earth’s natural cooling cycle from working — meaning heat is trapped near the surface, causing global temperatures to rise.”

USA Today reports, “The recent temperature rise cannot be explained by natural factors, scientists report. In the past 20 years, the world’s temperature has risen about two-thirds of a degree Fahrenheit, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.”

Before you go . . .

During a crisis like this, it’s more important than ever to dig beyond the news, to figure out what government policies mean for ordinary citizens and how those policies were put together.

For the first time, Civil Beat has become a seven-days-per-week news operation, publishing new stories and a new edition each Saturday and Sunday as well as weekdays.

This is perhaps the biggest, most consequential story our reporters will ever cover. And at no other time in Civil Beat’s history have we relied on your support more. Please consider supporting Civil Beat by making a tax-deductible gift.

About the Author