New study reveals earth’s carbon dioxide at levels unseen in 14 million years

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KUWAIT CITY, Dec 8, Agencies): A new study published in the journal Science has revealed that Earth’s current carbon dioxide levels have not been seen for 14 million years, indicating the unprecedented nature of today’s climate situation. The comprehensive analysis, which spans 66 million years of Earth’s history, offers a sobering view of the planet’s climatic future if human-driven carbon emissions continue unabated.

The research, led by Baerbel Hoenisch of the Columbia Climate School’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, utilized biological and geochemical data to reconstruct past CO2 concentrations with remarkable accuracy. The findings indicate that the last time atmospheric carbon dioxide reached 420 parts per million (ppm) was during a period when Greenland was devoid of ice and early human ancestors were emerging from forested habitats into grasslands.

This new estimate significantly pushes back the timeline previously suggested by earlier studies, which had placed similar CO2 levels between 3 and 5 million years ago. The rapid increase in greenhouse gases since the late 1700s—from approximately 280 ppm to current levels—represents a staggering 50 percent rise, contributing to a global temperature increase of 1.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times.

Hoenisch emphasizes the gravity of this shift, noting that our species, Homo sapiens, evolved just 3 million years ago and that our civilization is adapted to current sea levels and climate zones. The implications of continued CO2 emissions are profound: projections suggest that by 2100, atmospheric CO2 could reach between 600 and 800 ppm, a scenario reminiscent of the Eocene epoch when Antarctica was ice-free and giant insects thrived on Earth. The study is the culmination of seven years of collaborative effort among 80 researchers from 16 countries. Instead of gathering new data, the team meticulously reviewed, re-assessed, and validated existing studies using updated scientific methods. They then integrated the most reliable data into a revised timeline, now considered the scientific consensus on historic CO2 levels.

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