Global atmospheric CO2 at record-breaking level

News that global atmospheric carbon dioxide levels surged to more than 403 ppm in 2016 – the highest level in 800,000 years – have international headlines.

The CO2 concentrations, which were at 400.00 ppm in 2015, rose due to a combination of human activities and a strong El Nino event.

The information was published on 30 October in the World Meteorological Organisation’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The WMO’s chief, Petteri Taalas, said in a statement: “Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, we will be heading for dangerous temperature increases by the end of this century, well above the target set by the Paris climate change agreement.”

Professor Piers Forster, Director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate, is quoted in The Guardian and the Daily Mail, saying: “These large increase show it is more important than ever to reduce our emissions to zero – and as soon as possible. If vegetation can no longer help out absorbing our emissions in these hot years we could be in trouble.”