‘Prehistoric climate’ alert issued

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Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have reached a new milestone – prompting renewed warnings of the “huge risks” of climate change.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at 400 parts per million (ppm), higher than it has been throughout human history, preliminary figures from the US 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association monitoring station in Hawaii show.

Levels of the key greenhouse gas – which influence global temperatures – have risen from 270ppm before the Industrial Revolution, as a result of human activity such as burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at London School of Economics, said: “We are creating a prehistoric climate in which human societies will face huge and potentially catastrophic risks.”

Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: “Our common future is now bound up with this one simple measurement, the concentration of CO² in the atmosphere, and it now stands well above what some of our greatest scientific minds say is safe.

“The implications are grave, we’re facing major adverse planetary changes.”