The 25th November 2019 external press release the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) published says that the “levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached another new record high.”
This was based on the data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). This means that future generations will experience severe impacts of climate change such as more extreme weather, rising temperatures, sea-level rise, water stress, and disruptions to marine and land ecosystems (“Greenhouse Gas Concentrations,” 2019).
“Greenhouse Gas Concentrations” (2019) shares the following data:
- The WMO report from the WMO says that the concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 407.8 parts per million (ppm) in 2018, showing a rise from the 405.5 ppm in 2017.
- Concentration and emission are not the same. Concentration refers to the remaining carbon dioxide in the atmosphere after the complex systems of “interactions take place in the atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere, and oceans. About a quarter of emissions is absorbed by the ocean and another quarter by the biosphere.
- The report says that these figures, 405.5 ppm and 407.8 ppm, has ‘crossed the symbolic and significant 400 parts per million benchmark in 2015’. Adding that carbon dioxide will remain in the atmosphere for centuries, and much longer in the oceans.
- Increased amounts of methane and nitrous oxide have also been observed, more than in the last decades.
“Overview of Greenhouse” (2019) says that Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas and oil and from livestock, other agricultural practices and decay of organic waste in landfills.
Nitrous oxide, on the other hand, is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, combustion of fossil fuels and solid wastes as well as treatment of wastewater ( “Overview of Greenhouse,” 2019).
“Greenhouse Gas Concentrations” (2019) article says that global emissions are expected to peak by 2030, however, trends are showing that emissions are increasing despite efforts to curb it through each countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). This shows a glaring gap between the agreed climate change target and the actual reality ( “Greenhouse Gas Concentrations,” 2019).
UNFCCC’s external press release comes out ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference on 2-15 December in Madrid, Spain.
Fossil fuel combustion plays a ‘dominant role’ for the increased amounts of concentrations in the atmosphere. The 407.8 ppm concentration in the atmosphere is 147% more than in the pre-industrial levels in 1750, the report adds ( “Greenhouse Gas Concentrations,” 2019).
Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere means that emissions are not slowing down and current targets and climate actions are not enough to reduce carbon concentrations in the atmosphere and to keep temperature rise at 1.5C.
You may read the entire report by clicking on the button below: