In the News: Danny Harvey comments on report that carbon dioxide levels reach highest point ever, likely for good

Global carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have surpassed 400 parts per million, and will almost certainly remain there indefinitely. To put it into context, Danny Harvey, a professor in the department of geography at the University of Toronto, who teaches about climate change, explains that before the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide levels were around 280 parts per million. “So that’s about a 40 per cent increase, and way, way outside the range of the last million years,” he explained. This, coupled with temperature increases, puts the planet on track to become ice-free at some point in the future. “It doesn’t mean all the ice is going to melt in the next 100 or 1,000 years, but it does give you a perspective on just how big these changes are and the trajectory of where we’re heading,” he said. Harvey said if we do nothing, we’re on a clear path toward a climate that is between 1.5 and 4.0 degrees warmer, with carbon dioxide levels around 450 or 500 parts per million. In order to stop that increase, the world would have to eliminate fossil fuel emissions completely by 2060. CBCNews | Technology & Science