By Stephen Leahy
BROOKLIN, Canada, Nov 10 (IPS) – Three hundred and eighty parts per million. That’s the current concentration of carbon dioxide going into your lungs with each breath. Our parents or grandparents’ first breaths at birth contained about 290 parts per million (ppm), as it was for everyone born before them.
What does it really mean when in the not so distant future our children or grandchildren will inhale 450, perhaps 500 ppm or more of carbon dioxide?
Evidently, breathing in a bit more carbon dioxide (CO2) isn’t bad for human health — oxygen at sea level is 200,000 ppm, after all — but the changing atmosphere is having profound impacts on the climate of the planet.
The changing climate has many consequences, among them the potential loss of ancient ruins in Thailand, coral reefs in Belize, 13th century mosques in the Sahara, the Cape Floral Kingdom in South Africa and other irreplaceable natural and historic sites around the world, experts reported this week.
“Climate changes are impacting on all aspects of human and natural systems, including both cultural and natural World Heritage properties, “said Koichiro Matsuura, director-general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, which hosts the World Heritage Centre.