Invisible Dust

London | Saturday 23 March
Pollution level: Moderate

Carbon Dioxide Levels at Record High


Image by Paul Nicklen, courtesy of

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has just surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm). This is the highest concentration of CO2 ever reached in human history. The last time the Earth experienced similar greenhouse gas levels was several million years ago – when there was no ice in the Arctic and sea levels were 40 metres higher than they are today.

It’s hard to imagine our planet without ice caps at the poles, but unless CO2 emissions are curbed soon, that scenario may soon become reality once again.

Carbon dioxide emissions are called “greenhouse gases” because they heat the atmosphere up, leading to global warming and catastrophic climate change. To put the current levels into perspective, the concentration of CO2 at the beginning of industrialisation, at the turn of the 20th century, was just 280ppm – meaning the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere has nearly doubled in the past 100 years, and experts say that CO2 emissions are rising 75 times faster than in pre-industrial times.

Even as the world’s governments struggle to pass legislation to keep the global average temperature from rising more than 2C, the so-called point of no return for catastrophic climate change, the International Energy Agency is now predicting a 6C rise in warming – meaning the Earth would be warmer than it has ever been in 3-5 million years.

Clearly, action is needed, and fast. Invisible Dust is developing a new project, Invisible Heat, which aims to raise awareness about the health effects of climate change and rising temperatures.


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