Here’s a shocker: Antarctica’s CO2 levels are higher than New Zealand


Carbon dioxide levels in Antarctica are the highest they have been in four million years.

There are now no more monitoring stations on Earth measuring an atmospheric carbon dioxide level of less than 400 parts per million (ppm).

On May 23, Antarctica hit the dubious milestone, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced.

The frozen continent at the world’s South Pole was the last place on Earth to reach that level of carbon pollution, NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network Pieter Tans says.

Unlike four million years ago, this time there’s “abundant and solid evidence that the carbon dioxide increase is caused entirely by human activities”, he says.

A few weeks ago a shouty headline told us that New Zealand has passed the 400ppm level.  The suggestion was that we were losing control, that we have a runaway problem with our CO2 levels. At the time I didn’t have the information to understand what it actually meant.

Now that we know Antarctica is also past the 400ppm number, the whole issue really goes into a different context.

First, the air at the Antarctic has to be close to the cleanest air on the planet. It is furthest away from any pollution source. Next, if New Zealand has a very similar CO2 reading, then clearly New Zealand is no more encumbered by CO2 than Antarctica. And last, it becomes painfully clear that nothing we do will have any impact, now or ever.

The volume of air over the southern oceans and Antarctica, when compared with the volume of air we have some “control” over is just so vast, that whatever we actually achieve will not be measurable as it continues to mix and even out.

So, while the rest of the planet is doing little to nothing, especially the CO2 powerhouses of the Americas and Central Asia, any true cost and burden we place on ourselves has no practical value other than to be able to beat our chests and say “we do out bit”.

And all that aside, as scientific data shows, the planet is greening up with deserts receding. That’s change. But, why is it bad?  If it was getting colder there would be people saying that was bad. We just need to note what’s happening, accept it and ensure any long-term plans take the extremely slow changes into account.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.