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Carbon dioxide levels hit an all-time monthly high

A coal-fired power plant
The lignite-fired power station of Boxberg is pictured at night on April 28, 2018 in Klitten, Germany. Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

The amount of carbon dioxide in the air exceeded 411 parts per million during the month of May, which was the highest monthly level ever recorded, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Why it matters: Based on studies of historical levels of greenhouse gases in the air, this is also the highest level in human history.