Japan alarmed at record high CO2 levels

May 21, 2012

The average monthly concentration of carbon dioxide has topped 400 parts per million in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, the first time this level has been reached in Japan

The Japan Meteorological Agency said last week that 401.2 ppm of CO2 was recorded at an observation point in the city in March, and this figure was then eclipsed in April by a measurement of 402.2 ppm.

The average CO2 concentration in Ofunato was about 350 ppm in 1987, when the agency started recording the levels.

"Japan also needs to make further efforts to halt deforestation and cut fossil fuel consumption," the agency said Wednesday.

Figures recorded on islands in southern parts of Japan also have rung alarm bells.

The agency has been observing CO2 levels at Minami-Torishima island in Ogasawara, Tokyo, and Yonagunijima island in Yonaguni, Okinawa Prefecture. The monthly average figure in April at these sites reached 398.1 ppm and 399.4 ppm, respectively--both record highs.