Atmospheric CO₂ levels at highest level in 4 million years

The CO₂ concentration in the atmosphere in May 2022 was half that of the pre-industrial era. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US agency that deals with meteorology and oceanography, reported this on Friday. This is the highest level in four million years.

Man-made global warming, including fossil fuel use and deforestation, is responsible for this high concentration, the US agency said.

In May 2022, the 420 parts per million (ppm) mark was exceeded. A year earlier, it was 419 ppm, in 2020 417 ppm. Before the industrial revolution, the CO₂ concentration in the atmosphere fluctuated around 280 ppm.

The current level is in line with the level recorded 4.1 to 4.5 million years ago. But then the sea level was 5 to 25 meters higher, and there were large forests in the Arctic.

“The CO₂ concentration is at a level that our species has never experienced before – and this is not the first time,” scientist Pieter Tans said in a statement. “We’ve known it for a century and have failed to do anything meaningful. What does it take to wake us up?”

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