Jump In CO2 Levels Alarm Scientists

Preliminary figures show that levels of the gas have risen abruptly in the past four years.

Published: 17-Jan-2006

N class=copy> LONDON - Global warming is set to accelerate alarmingly because of a sharp jump in carbon dioxide levels.

Preliminary figures show that levels of the gas - the main cause of climate change - have risen abruptly in the past four years. Scientists fear that warming is entering a new phase, and may accelerate further.

But a summit of the most polluting countries, convened by the Bush Administration, last week refused to set targets for reducing their carbon dioxide emissions.

Set up in competition to the Kyoto Protocol, the Sydney summit, attended by the US, Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea, instead pledged to develop cleaner technologies - which some experts believe will not arrive in time.

Through most of the past 50 years, levels of the gas rose by an average of 1.3 parts per million a year. But unpublished figures for the first 10 months of this year show a rise of 2.2ppm.

Scientists believe this may be the first evidence that climate change is starting to produce itself, as rising temperatures so alter natural systems that the Earth itself releases more gas, driving the thermometer ever higher.

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