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Record global carbon dioxide levels reported in 2011


Global carbon dioxide levels hit a new record high in 2011, the World Meteorological Organization says in a new report.


Saul Loeb

Global carbon dioxide levels hit a new record high in 2011, the UN weather agency says.

Concentrations of the main global warming pollutant grew at a similar rate to the past decade and averaged 390 parts per million last year, the World Meteorological Organization said in its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin on Tuesday.

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That's 40 percent higher than levels prior to the Industrial Age, when levels were about 280 parts per million, The Associated Press reported.

Fossil fuels are the primary source of the estimated 350 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide that's been released into the atmosphere since 1750, and will stay in the atmosphere for centuries, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud told Reuters.

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That is sure, he says, to cause more global warming.

Levels of other long-lived greenhouse gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide, have also risen steadily in the past three years after leveling off for about seven years for reasons unknown, according to Reuters.

The gases have increased the global climate's warming effect by 30 percent between 1990 and 2011, Agence France-Presse reported.