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World Meteorological Organization Report: Greenhouse Gases Have Monumentally Risen

Prior to the U.N. climate change conference that is going to take place between December 2 to 15 in Madrid, Spain and Chile, chapters within the organization released two crucial reports. While one focused on rising emission levels, the other highlighted the lack of commitment by G20 nations. 

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in its latest report, revealed the unprecedented increase of greenhouse gases in the environment. Thereby, pointing towards a future with escalating temperatures that threaten ecosystems and raise sea levels, among other contributing apocalyptic indicators. 

The report elaborated on the role of carbon dioxide in destroying the environment. Carbon dioxide is responsible for 80 percent of the temperature rise from 1990, according to data calculated by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to the report said, there has been a 43 percent increase in warm climate. 

Since the earth’s temperature surpassed the 400 parts per million threshold, which was symbolically identified by scientists in 2015, a steady rise of CO2 levels in the atmosphere has been observed. The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin estimated that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere were as high as 407.8 parts per million in 2018, indicating an increase from the 405.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2017.

“There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We need to translate the commitments into action and increase the level of ambition for the sake of the future welfare of the mankind,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas stated in a news release

According to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, a key finding was that fossil fuel combustion was the main reason behind rising CO2 levels. The report said that burning fossil fuels decreased the radiocarbon content and increased CO2 levels inversely. Another trend observed was the slow but steady increase of CO2 levels in the last three years, which was also higher than the average CO2 levels calculated for the previous decade. 

“It is worth recalling that the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago. Back then, the temperature was 2-3°C warmer, sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now,” Taalas said.

Methane atmospheric concentration levels had risen to 1,869 parts per billion in 2018, exceeding the pre-industrial level standards by 259 percent, which are used as a reference point to measure rising gases. Similarly, nitrous oxide was found to be at 331.1 parts per billion and 123 percent higher than the pre-industrial benchmarks. 

Solutions have been discussed by various international conferences, which are seeking to inspire change in countries. The report released by UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on Tuesday suggests that countries must aim to cut down greenhouse gas emissions by 7.6 percent annually in the next decade, especially if they want to meet the goal of restricting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius per year. 

Despite the G20 nations contributing towards 78 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions, only 5 G20 members have committed to cutting down emissions, the report pointed out. 

"The findings of WMO's Greenhouse Gas Bulletin and UNEP's Emissions Gap Report point us in a clear direction - in this critical period, the world must deliver concrete, stepped-up action on emissions," Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, said in the news release.

Air Pollution The World Health Organization estimates outdoor air pollution kills 4.2 million people every year around the world. Pixabay

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