On an observatory 11,000 feet high on Mauna Loa, a volcano in Hawaii, a pair of ageing, automated detectors have produced their most alarming result to date. They showed that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have touched 390 parts per million – a 40% increase on pre-industrial levels.
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Most climate scientists say rises could easily go up to 4C to 6C, producing global average temperatures not seen on Earth for 50 million years. Deserts will spread, ice caps melt, coastal areas flood and millions forced from their homes.