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

Mark Schiefelbein | AP

Mark Schiefelbein | AP

In a recent annual report, the World Meteorological Organization said the level of Carbon dioxide reached 405-point-five parts per million (ppm) last year, up by two-point-two ppm from a year earlier.

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. In a statement, WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas warned "the window of opportunity" to act against climate change has almost closed.

As described in the "WMO Bulletin", according to the National administration oceanic and atmosphere share of Carbon dioxide accounted for about 82% of the increase in radiative forcing over the last decade.

The Bulletin also indicates that concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide also rose, as well as a "resurgence" of the ozone-depleting substance CFC-11.

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Since 1990, there has been a 41 per cent increase in the warming effect by the various greenhouse gases on the climate - known as "radioactive forcing".

That's a level last seen 3 million to 5 million years ago, when the global temperature was several degrees warmer and sea levels were up to 66 feet higher than today.

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The report showed how keeping temperature increases below 2°C could reduce the risks for the well-being of the planet and its people. "There is now no magic wand to remove all the excess Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere", warned WMO Deputy Secretary-General Elena Manaenkova.

The IPCC and WMO findings are expected to provide the scientific base for decision-making at the United Nations climate change negotiations in Katowice, Poland in December. The key objective of this meeting is to adopt an implementation plan for the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Against the backdrop of the sobering report, Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has sent a letter to all States, telling them they have legal obligations under worldwide human rights law to prevent climate change and try to mitigate its effects.

"By hiding what they knew and misrepresenting the dangers of unabated fossil fuel use, the fossil fuel industry and supportive governments protected their high-emissions profits and obstructed the changes needed to prevent or at least minimize the impacts of climate change", he told a "virtual" summit of nations that are vulnerable to climate change.

The figure is on par with average annual growth of greenhouses gases over the past ten years and has jumped by around 46 percent from preindustrial levels.

Professor Corinne Le Quere, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, said she was "not surprised but I am very concerned" that the major greenhouse gases are rising unabated.

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