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Climate Tipping Point? Concentration of Carbon Dioxide Tops 400 ppm For First Time in Human History

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Published on May 13, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org - Scientists are warning the planet has now reached a grim climate milestone not seen for two or three million years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has topped 400 parts per million. The 400 ppm threshold has been an important marker in U.N. climate change negotiations, widely recognized as a dangerous level that could drastically worsen human-caused global warming. We speak to leading climate scientist Michael Mann, distinguished professor of meteorology at Penn State University and author of the recent book, "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines." Mann warns that, "We have to go several million years back in time to find a point in Earth's history where CO2 was as high as it is now. ... If we continue to burn fossil fuels at accelerating rates, if we continue with business as usual we will cross the 450 parts per million limit in a matter of maybe a couple of decades. With that amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, we commit to what could truly be described as dangerous and irreversible changes in our climate."

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