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Carbon dioxide key points

  • This chart shows the increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in recent years measured at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii.
  • Carbon dioxide concentration in our atmosphere has increased by about 24 percent since 1958.
  • Carbon dioxide is the primary driver of global climate change.
  • The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been measured from this location continuously since 1958.
  • Carbon dioxide is an important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gas, which is released through human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels, as well as natural processes such as respiration and volcanic eruptions.