Global carbon dioxide levels hit a new record in 2017, UN says

Global carbon dioxide

Global carbon dioxide

Echoing the recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Secretary-General of the WMO, Petteri Taalas, said that climate change will have "increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts" without "rapid cuts" in emissions.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide and other Earth-warming gases rose past year and are 41 per cent higher than in 1990, driving a long-term increase in the global temperature, the organization said.

Last year, as the latest WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin (pdf) details, average concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide all rose-with CO2 hitting 405.5 parts per million (ppm), its highest level in a few million years.

Its atmospheric concentration in 2017 was 329.9 parts per billion, over 120 per cent of pre-industrial levels and also has an impact on the ozone layer protecting us from the sun's ultraviolet rays. The WMO said higher Carbon dioxide concentrations are melting ice caps and leading to more violent weather events, which the Bank of England Wednesday said were responsible for a record $140 billion in insurance losses in 2017.

The rate of increase is in line with the average growth rate over the last decade, which was the fastest rate for 55 million years, the WMO said.

The rise was expected to be much lower in 2017, because the previous year saw "El Nino" weather conditions, which are normally followed by a big slowdown in the growth of Carbon dioxide concentrations.

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United Nations climate talks in Poland next month are meant to agree a rule book for the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, which set a sweeping goal of ending the fossil fuel era this century.

Emissions from transport, agriculture, power generation and the residential sector continue to rise globally, driving long-term climate change, sea level rise and more extreme weather events.

"On the longer timescale we are not that much anxious about the current political disturbance", he said.

"CO2 remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years and in the oceans for even longer".

"Human rights are under threat from a force which challenges the foundations of all life, as we know it, on this planet we share", she said, pointing out that the decisions taken CO P24 will govern climate action under the Paris agreement "for the indefinite future", and said that "the rights of the millions of people [are] threatened by climate change".

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