Pollution at highest level in 800,000 years

The Belgian professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele has warned that pollution is at its highest level for 800,000 years. The Belgian who is Professor of Climatology at the UCL says that the level of CO2 in the air that we breathe is increasing to rise. This week the 400 particles per million (ppm) norm was exceeded.

Prof van Ypersele, who is a member of the UN Climate Panel, says that CO2 is one of the most important greenhouse gases of human-making and is a crucial factor in global warming.

"We can go back 800,000 years in time and analyse air quality because we can analyse air bubbles trapped in ice in Antarctica. In the period before a million years ago we have never measured values above 300 ppm. Now as a result of the burning of fossil fuels this figure has risen to 400 ppm in only a hundred years. We are heading for even higher values."

The member of the UN Climate Panel says action is urgently needed: "If this is repeated we are looking at the melting of the Greenland icecap in 500 to 1000 years. Sea levels would rise by 6 metres. We're playing with fire if we do not act."