Carbon dioxide levels hit 50% higher than preindustrial time

This 2019 photo provided by NOAA shows the Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory, high atop Hawaii's largest mountain in order to sample well-mixed background air free of local pollution. Heat-trapping carbon dioxide levels in the air peaked in May 2021, in amounts nearly 50% higher than when the industrial age began and they are growing at a record fast rate, scientists reported Monday, June 7, 2021. (Susan Cobb/NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory via AP)

(AP) – Scientists say the annual peak of global heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air has reached another dangerous milestone: 50% higher than when the industrial age began.

And the average rate of increase is faster than ever, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Monday.

New emissions were slightly less than normal last year because of the pandemic lockdown, but not enough to have an effect on overall carbon dioxide levels.

When Earth came out of the ice age, carbon dioxide levels jumped about 80 parts per million in 6,000 years.

They’ve jumped that much since 1979 as people burn more coal, oil and natural gas.


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