CO2 monitoring stations in Hawaii have just recorded some rather disturbing data. For the first time since humans starting walking the Earth, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has passed 400 parts per million (ppm); levels not seen in several million years, when the Arctic was completely ice free and seal levels were 40 metres higher.
Despite constant warnings from scientists, and supposed efforts from governments to reduce carbon emissions, around the world those emissions have just continued to soar.
Professor Ralph Keeling, who oversees the measurements from Hawaii, stated that this news “is symbolic, a point to pause and think about where we have been and where we are going. It's like turning 50: it's a wake up to what has been building up in front of us all along.”
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Professor Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, said that “the passing of this milestone is a significant reminder of the rapid rate at which – and the extent to which – we have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. At the beginning of industrialisation the concentration of CO2 was just 280ppm. We must hope that the world crossing this milestone will bring about awareness of the scientific reality of climate change and how human society should deal with the challenge.”
Governments from around the world agreed to keep global average temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius in order to avoid irreversible damage to the planet, however at this rate the IEA has warned that the world is on track to warm by six degrees.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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