Scientists recently revealed how greenhouse gasses are fueling climate change and how this will have a negative impact around the globe.
A recent report by the U.N. World Meteorological Organization warns carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere increased at a record-breaking speed in 2016.
The greenhouse gas spiked from 400 ppm (parts per million), in 2015 to 403.3 ppm in 2016, the biggest annual jump on record, some of which can be attributed to the 2015-16 El Nino.
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said rapid cuts to CO2 (carbon dioxide) and other greenhouse gases are needed to avoid "dangerous temperature increases" by 2100. Otherwise the expected temperature rise would largely surpass targets set in the Paris climate accord.
"We are actually moving in the wrong direction when we think about the implementation of the Paris Agreement and this all demonstrates that there is some urgent need to raise the ambition level of climate mitigation, if we are serious with this 1.5 to 2C target of Paris Agreement,” he said.
"Future generations will inherit a much more inhospitable planet," he added.
WMO said that levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are the highest in 800,000 years, when “the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets melted and even some of the East Antarctic ice was lost, leading to sea levels that were [33 to 66 feet] higher than those today.”
"The abrupt changes in the atmosphere witnessed in the past 70 years are without precedent," said the Geneva-based organization in a statement.
The increase will potentially fuel a 20-meter rise in the sea levels and add 3 degrees to the temperatures, the U.N. WMO said in its annual greenhouse gas bulletin.
According to the report, CO2 levels were surging rapidly due to a combination of "human activities and "a strong El Nino event."
Such dramatic changes have never been experienced before. “As far as direct and proxy observations can tell, such abrupt changes in the atmospheric levels of CO2 have never before been seen,” the report said.
This is a matter of great concern. The fact that President Donald Trump calls climate change a hoax, doesn’t change the reality.
Before the industrial revolution, around 280 ppm of CO2 concentration was present in the air globally. But within a span of just 100 years the level rose to 400 ppm.
"The numbers don't lie. We are still emitting far too much and this needs to be reversed," said Erik Solheim, head of U.N. Environment Program, commenting on the WMO report.
"The last few years have seen enormous uptake of renewable energy, but we must now redouble our efforts to ensure these new low-carbon technologies are able to thrive. We have many of the solutions already to address this challenge. What we need now is global political will and a new sense of urgency."
Thumbnail /Banner: Reuters, Jason Lee