Carbon dioxide levels hit three million year high

Warming could spell disaster for coastal cities within this century

The World Meteorological Organization announced today that the Earth has officially surpassed the 400 parts per million threshold of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, well above the 350 ppm level deemed “safe” by many scientists and climate watchers.

The upward trend lines for both fossil fuel emissions and deforestation mean that these dangerously high carbon dioxide levels are unlikely to recede below the 400 ppm mark in anyone’s lifetime. The last time carbon dioxide levels were this high was about three million years ago during the mid-Pliocene, and the Earth’s sea level was a full 25 meters above what it is today. Although the sea level is not projected to rise that high in the near-future, a rise of seven meters is realistic, and would mean the submerging of New York City, most of south Florida, San Francisco, the Netherlands and London.

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