CO2 levels in the atmosphere increase at record speed

Italy SmogAn hazy view of the dome of Santa Maria delle Grazie (Holy Mary of Grace) shows the polluted skyline in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017. Italy's periodic smog alerts have accelerated this year thanks to unseasonably warm temperatures, low rainfall and wildfires contributing to pollution from car emissions, with Turin and Milan particularly hard hit in recent days. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The increase in CO2 levels in the atmosphere last year was the strongest ever measured.

This informs the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The reason is partly man-made emissions, and partly emissions due to the weather phenomenon El Niño.

Emissions from the world’s energy sector have stabilized in recent years. However, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere rose last year – partly due to emissions from huge forest fires due to an unusually powerful El Niño.

WMO’s annual main report, The Greehouse Gas Bulletin, has charted the share of CO2 in the atmosphere since 1750. The report says that the last Earth had similar CO2 levels as three to five million years ago, when the sea level was 20 meters higher than today.

“Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, we are facing leathal temperature increases by the end of this century, far above the target of the Paris agreement,” says WMO chief Petteri Taalas.

The historic climate agreement was signed by 196 countries two years ago, but is now under pressure because President Donald Trump has decided to withdraw the United States from the deal.

Representatives of the United States will nevertheless be present when climate negotiators from all over the world meet in Bonn in Germany next week. The implementation of the Paris Agreement will be a main theme of the UN meeting.

– The numbers are not lying. We are still emitting too much and this has to be reversed, “says Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment Program.


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