World CO2 levels reach record high

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached a record high, scientists have warned, renewing fears that climate change could begin to slide out of control.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now says that CO2 levels in the atmosphere stand at 387 parts per million (ppm), the Guardian reported on Monday, up almost 40% since the industrial revolution and the highest for at least the last 650,000 years.

Scientists say the shift could indicate that the Earth is losing its natural ability to soak up billions of tonnes 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, the report said.

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