CO2 levels hit record high in 2014: UN agency

RSTV Bureau
Symbolic Image ( PTI )

Symbolic Image ( PTI )

Expressing concerned on rising level of carbon dioxide and methane, the two most important greenhouse gases, the UN weather agency said that their level has reached record highs last year, continuing the warming effect on the world’s climate. The World Meteorological Organization said on Monday that CO2 levels rose to nearly 398 parts per million, from 396 ppm in 2013.

“Every year we report a new record in greenhouse gas concentrations,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud in a press release.

The CO2 level fluctuates throughout the year and the monthly average crossed the symbolic 400 ppm threshold in March 2015. The WMO added that the annual average “is likely to pass 400 ppm in 2016.”

“Every year we say that time is running out. We have to act now to slash greenhouse gas emissions if we are to have a chance to keep the increase in temperatures to manageable levels,” he said.

WMO’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, released ahead of the UN climate conference this December in Paris, also added that between 1990 and 2014 there was a 36 per cent increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – because of long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) from industrial, agricultural and domestic activities.

Pushed by the burning of coal, oil and gas for energy, global CO2 levels are now 143 per cent higher than before the industrial revolution. Scientists also say that is the main driver of global warming.

Giving details about the rising the methane level WMO said methane levels reached a new high of about 1,833 parts per billion in 2014. About 40 per cent of methane emissions come from natural sources and about 60 per cent from human activities, like cattle breeding, rice agriculture and the extraction of fossil fuels.

World governments are meeting in Paris later this month to craft a new UN pact to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. More than 150 countries including top greenhouse gas polluters China, the United States, the European Union and India have pledged to cut or curb their emissions in the next decade.

Meanwhile, climate change is already transforming the Earth, melting Arctic sea ice, intensifying heat waves, and warming and acidifying the ocean. Climate scientists also confirmed if global warming continues unabated, dangerous effects could include flooding of coastal cities and island nations, disruptions to agriculture and drinking water, and the spread of diseases and the extinction of species.