The level of climate-changing carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere has reached 400 parts per million (400ppm) for the first time in human history.
Data from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii on 9 May, recorded by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, have confirmed that the worrying 400ppm landmark level has been reached. The last time CO2 was this high was between three and five million years ago (the Pliocene era) - before humans had evolved on the planet.
Responding to the news, our CEO David Nussbaum states: “The milestone we’ve just reached is a reminder that we are heading in the wrong direction in terms of dealing with climate change.
"It challenges us all to come to terms with the fact that fossil fuels need to stay in the ground and that, instead, we need to switch to renewable alternatives if we want to avoid dangerous climate change in the future.
“There is limited time for governments to achieve the goal they have set themselves for agreeing a global deal that effectively tackles climate change. Our political leaders have it in their power to address their chronic failure to agree a deal that reflects what is scientifically necessary to reverse the rise in greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.”
We're calling for the global climate deal due to be concluded in 2015 to reflect the best available science as represented by the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, which will be coming out later this year.
A recent report by Carbon Tracker and LSE showed that between 60-80% of coal, oil and gas reserves of publicly listed companies need to be considered ‘unburnable’ if the world is to have a chance of not exceeding global warming of 2°C.
We're calling on the UK government to show national and global leadership in the urgent transition away from fossil fuels to a sustainable low-carbon economy.