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Climate Change's Dangerous Milestone: Earth Passes 410 PPM CO2 Levels for the First Time in History

May 02, 2017 07:07 AM EDT
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The high levels of CO2 means we are trapping more heat and causing the climate to change at an accelerating rate. I
(Photo : Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

The level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our planet is more dangerous than ever, as Hawaii's Mauna Loa Observatory recorded CO2 levels passed 410 parts per million (ppm) on April 18.

The Keeling Curve, University of California San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography program, which have been recording CO2 levels in the past years, assert that the latest number -- 410.28 ppm to be exact --- is the highest the world has ever seen. The researchers warned that 410 ppm is just the start of the terrifying records that will shock us in the upcoming months.

In the first-ever carbon dioxide forecast issued by U.K. Met Office scientists, they said CO2 levels could reach 410 ppm in March or April. The latest record brought the forecast to reality.

The high levels of CO2 means we are trapping more heat and causing the climate to change at an accelerating rate. The first time the observatory recorded CO2 levels passing 400 ppm was back in 2013. Since then, 400 ppm became the new normal, Scientific American noted.

"Atmospheric CO2 is now higher than it has been for several million years, as measured in ice cores and ocean sediments," Dr. Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, told The Indian Express in an email.

"The current rate of increase is about 200 times faster than when CO2 increased by about 80 ppm from natural causes when the Earth climbed out of the last Ice Age, which occurred between 17,000 and 11,000 years ago," he added.

Tans noted that the dramatic increase in CO2 is no suprise, considering the amount of emission from burning oil, coal, natural gas and cement manufacturing. These processes produce 10 billion metric tons of carbon (or 37 billion metric tons of CO2) per year. 

In 2015, 62 countries, including the United States, China and India, have ratified the Paris Agreement to limit global average temperature to under 2 degrees Celsius. Temperature higher than 2 would mean heat extremes, water shortages, hunger, conflict and more. However, the Paris Agreement is now threatened as US President Donald Trump is showing signals that he would withdraw from it.

News 18 reported that in a speech to mark the first 100 days of his presidency, Trump said, "I will be making a big decision on the Paris accord over the next two weeks and we will see what happens," citing that while India and China are the largest coal producers, US is being unfairly targeted by asking to pay money.

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