UN: Greenhouse gas levels hit new record, reductions are insufficient

According to the report, the concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide were all above pre-industrial levels before 1750, when human activities “began to disturb the natural balance of the Earth.”

The report draws on information gathered by a network that monitors how much greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere after certain amounts have been absorbed by the oceans and biosphere.

In its report, the Geneva-based agency also highlighted signs of a worrying new development: parts of the Amazon rainforest have gone from a carbon “sink” that sucks carbon dioxide out of the air to one. source of CO2 due to deforestation and reduced humidity in the region, he said.

“One of the striking messages from our report is that the Amazon region, which was once a carbon sink, has become a source of carbon dioxide,” Taalas said. “And it’s because of deforestation. local climate, in particular. We have less humidity and less precipitation.

Oksana Tarasova, head of the atmospheric and environmental research division at WMO, said the results showing the Amazon going from well to source were a first, but he noted that they came from a specific part from the south-eastern Amazon, and not from the entire rainforest.

The United Nations climate office said separately on Monday that its assessment of the formal commitments made by countries that have signed the Paris agreement suggests the world could reduce its emissions by 83% to 88% by 2050 compared to 2019.

Even more worryingly, emissions in 2030 are expected to be 16% higher than in 2010, based on official commitments made so far.

“Such an increase, unless changed quickly, could lead to a temperature rise of about 2.7 ° C (4.9 ° F) by the end of the century,” said the UN.

Experts have argued that emissions must halve by 2030 from 2010 levels and reach virtually zero by mid-century, if the Paris target of capping global warming at 2C, ideally not. more than 1.5C, must be reached.

“Exceeding temperature targets will lead to a destabilized world and endless suffering, especially among those who have contributed the least to GHG emissions into the atmosphere,” said Patricia Espinosa, who heads the United Nations office. for the climate.

“We are a long way from where science says we should be,” she added.

However, recent announcements from China and India, the world’s top and third largest emitters, have yet to be included in the analysis as they have yet to officially submit their targets to the UN.

And Alok Sharma, who will chair the UN talks in Glasgow, said progress had been made since the conclusion of the Paris agreement in 2015, when projections of existing emission reductions indicated warming of up to at 4 ° C.

The global average concentration of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, hit a new record high of 413.2 parts per million last year, according to the WMO report. The 2020 increase was above the annual average over the past decade despite a 5.6% drop in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels due to COVID-19 restrictions, WMO said .

Taalas said that a level above 400 parts per million – which was exceeded in 2015 – “has major negative repercussions on our daily life and well-being, for the state of our planet and for the future of our children and grandchildren “.

Human-made carbon dioxide emissions, which result primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels like oil and gas or the production of cement, account for about two-thirds of the warming effect on the climate. The WMO said that overall, an economic setback last year due to the pandemic “has had no discernible impact on atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases and their growth rates, although there has been a temporary drop in new issuance “.

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