(TIME) — The concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere has hit levels unseen in 3 million years.
Sensors at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded 415 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for the first time in human history
The observatory’s sensors registered carbon dioxide levels of 415 parts per million (ppm) on Saturday, meaning CO2 made up 415 of ever 1 million molecules of gas in the atmosphere.
CO2 – which is emitted when we burn fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas – is a greenhouse gas which traps heat in the earth’s atmosphere, contributing to the global temperature increases which drives climate change.
The concentration of CO2 has been rising by an average of 2.5 ppm over the last decade. But the increase from 2018 to 2019 will likely be around 3ppm, Ralph Keeling, director of the Scripps C02 program which runs the Manua Loa Observatory, said in a statement.