Since the first Earth Day, the planet’s CO2 levels have gone off the rails

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When Americans celebrated the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, the planet’s atmosphere was markedly different than it is today. Nearly 50 years ago, scientists measured Earth’s levels of carbon dioxide — the planet’s most important greenhouse gas — at around 325 parts per million, or ppm. 

Now, almost five decades later, that number has shot up to around 412 ppm, nearly 90 ppm higher. It’s a change atmospheric researchers, geologists, and climate scientists call unparalleled in at…

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