Global Atmospheric CO2 at Record High

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“The figures, published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) on its website, also confirm that carbon dioxide,
the chief greenhouse gas, is accumulating in the atmosphere faster than
expected.”
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/12/climatechange.carbonemissions
Monday May 12 2008

World CO2 levels at record high, scientists warn
David Adam

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached a
record high, according to new figures that renew fears that climate
change could begin to slide out of control.

Scientists at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii say that CO2 levels in
the atmosphere now stand at 387 parts per million (ppm), up almost 40%
since the industrial revolution and the highest for at least the last
650,000 years.

The figures, published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) on its website, also confirm that carbon dioxide,
the chief greenhouse gas, is accumulating in the atmosphere faster than
expected. The annual mean growth rate for 2007 was 2.14ppm – the fourth
year in the past six to see an annual rise greater than 2ppm. From 1970
to 2000, the concentration rose by about 1.5ppm each year, but since 2000
the annual rise has leapt to an average 2.1ppm.

Scientists say the shift could indicate that the Earth is losing its
natural ability to soak up billions of tons of carbon each year. Climate
models assume that about half our future emissions will be re-absorbed by
forests and oceans, but the new figures confirm this may be too
optimistic. If more of our carbon pollution stays in the atmosphere, it
means emissions will have to be cut by more than currently projected to
prevent dangerous levels of global warming.

Martin Parry, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s
working group on impacts, said: “Despite all the talk, the situation is
getting worse. Levels of greenhouse gases continue to rise in the
atmosphere and the rate of that rise is accelerating. We are already
seeing the impacts of climate change and the scale of those impacts will
also accelerate, until we decide to do something about it.”

Martin Parry will be speaking at the Guardian Planning for
Climate Adaptation conference on May 19

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited 2008

guardian.co.uk

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