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World Met Organization Finds Record GHGs In 2013

The record GHG figures the World Meteorological Organization reveals in its tenth annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin today are not cause for celebration.

WMO 2013 record GHG statistics (wmo.int)

Atmospheric greenhouse gases rose even faster last year than in each of the 30 years before, according to the WMO’s Atmospheric Environment Research Division’s Research Department in Geneva. The record GHG results are causing widespread concern that the planet is proving less effective at coping with CO2 than previously thought.

Michael Mann's plot of 2013 CO2 data point (Facebook)FYI, on the right is a new quickie plot on the CO2 data point from well-known Penn State climate expert Michael Mann.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud spoke forcefully about these measurements to those who might be unaware of their implications:

The WMO Global Atmosphere Watch for CO2 in the past decade. Methane is similar (wmo.int)

The WMO Global Atmosphere Watch for CO2 in the past decade. Methane is similar (wmo.int).

Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for many hundreds of years and in the ocean for even longer. Past, present and future CO2 emissions will have a cumulative impact on both global warming and ocean acidification. The laws of physics are non-negotiable.

The international organization has found CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere in 2013 (graph 1 below) at levels 142% higher than measured pre-industrial levels. Methane levels are up 253% (graph 2 below). The bulletin also reveals that radiative forcing, a measure of GHG warming effect, increased by more than a third (34%) between 1990 and 2013.

Globally averaged CO2 and CH4, including 2013 record GHGs (wmo.int)WMO head Jarraud said these findings reveal “potentially devastating” failure in the current world efforts to cut emissions.

The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years. We must reverse this trend by cutting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases across the board. We are running out of time.

The WMO also found evidence that the ability of the world’s biosphere to absorb CO2 through the protection given by ocean and forest absorption may be diminishing. Download the WMO report here for more.

Just yesterday, PricewaterhouseCoopers warned that the pace of change in carbon intensity will be at least double the desired two-degree horizon by the end of the century and will not enable Earth to avoid dangerous levels of climate change.

Upcoming international climate meetings in New York, Lima, and Paris are scheduled to take up these alarming issues within the next year. The participants will have to work faster and harder than previous human efforts to hold off the most damaging effects. National “promises” cannot suffice any more.

 

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Written By

covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."

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