A man walks on an overpass amid heavy smog at night in Beijing, China, Nov. 30, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Choking smog blanketed Beijing and much of northern China Monday as climate change talks opened in Paris and a new Chinese report raised the alarm about rising sea levels.As the global summit began, the U.S. embassy in Beijing recorded concentrations of PM2.5, tiny airborne particles which embed deeply in the lungs, at 625 micrograms per cubic meter – 25 times above the World Health Organisation's 25 microgram recommended maximum.Plummeting visibility grounded flights and local authorities said levels in one southwestern district had reached 976 micrograms per cubic meter – more than 39 times the WHO limit.Beijing's "Third National Climate Change Assessment Report" said the sea levels have risen 2.9 millimeters (0.11 inch) annually from 1980 to 2012, according to the official China Climate Change website last week, while glaciers had shrunk over 10 percent since the 1970s.Temperatures could rise by as much as five degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit) by the end of this century, the report added. Beijing's severe pollution follows record-breaking smog in northeastern China last month, when PM2.5 levels reached 1,400 micrograms per cubic meter in the city of Shenyang – the highest ever registered.
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