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Report: Levels of carbon dioxide reached record high last year

iStock/Thinkstock(GENEVA) -- The concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere reached a record high in 2016, according to a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Last year's surge was 50 percent higher than the average of the past decade, leading to the highest levels in 800,000 years.

Population growth, intensified agricultural practices, increases in land use and deforestation, industrialization and energy use from fossil fuel sources have contributed to these increases, according to a statement by the WMO.

“Without rapid cuts in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, we will be heading for dangerous temperature increases by the end of this century, well above the target set by the Paris climate change agreement,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said. “Future generations will inherit a much more inhospitable planet.”

The results were based on measurements gathered from 51 countries. Concentrations of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, were measured at research stations in those countries.

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