Carbon dioxide level exceeds 400 ppm forfirst time in three million years

Carbon dioxide level exceeds 400 ppm for the first time in three million years

9:34 AM, 13th May 2013
Carbon dioxide level exceeds 400 ppm for the first time in three million years
The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed a threshold not seen for 3 million years, exceeding 400 parts per million for the first time since researchers began tracking the data.

WASHINGTON DC, US: The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed a threshold not seen for 3 million years, exceeding 400 parts per million for the first time since researchers began tracking the data. The main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming averaged 400.03 parts per million at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa monitoring station in Hawaii on 9 May 2013.

The level is considered a landmark by scientists and environmentalists, who say carbon emissions caused by burning fossil fuels are warming the planet and must be reined in before they cause irreversible changes to weather, sea levels and Arctic ice cover.

“We are in the process of creating a prehistoric climate that humans have no evolutionary experience of. The last time CO2 levels were this high was at least 3 million years ago. Then, temperatures were 2 to 3 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial times, the polar ice caps were much smaller, and sea levels were about 20 meters (66 feet) higher than today,” said Bob Ward, Policy Director, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, in a telephone interview.

The atmospheric reading comes three weeks after the European Parliament rejected a plan to shore up prices in the Emissions Trading System, the world’s biggest effort to ratchet back greenhouse-gas pollution. The system attaches a cost to CO2 released by burning fossil fuels, giving manufacturers and utilities an incentive to reduce emissions.

© Bloomberg News

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