Saturday, May 05, 2018

Hothouse Gas Rising

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached its highest level in at least 800,000 years. In April, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere exceeded an average of 410 parts per million (ppm) across the entire month, according to readings.

Scientists have warned levels of carbon dioxide are crossing a threshold which could lead to global warming beyond the “safe” level identified by the international community, fuelling a rise in sea levels. Carbon dioxide is the single most important greenhouse gas emitted by human activities including the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, the making of cement and deforestation. Scientists believe that the world has never experienced a rise in CO2 levels as quick or intense as this. 

Ralph Keeling, director of the CO2 programme at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography which monitors the readings, explained, the rate of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has been increasing faster in the last decade than in the 2000s.  “It’s another milestone in the upward increase in CO2 over time. It’s up closer to some targets we don’t really want to get to, like getting over 450 or 500 ppm. That’s pretty much dangerous territory.” 

Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe tweeted: “As a scientist, what concerns me the most is what this continued rise actually means: that we are continuing full speed ahead with an unprecedented experiment with our planet, the only home we have.”

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