UN: Greenhouse gases hit record high in 2022

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US space agency NASA is now detecting methane plumes several kilometers long as greenhouse gas concentrations hit record highs.  (Photo: AFP)

US area company NASA is now detecting methane plumes a number of kilometers lengthy as greenhouse gasoline concentrations hit record highs. (Photo: AFP)

GENEVA – Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the ambiance hit new highs in 2022, with no finish to the rising pattern, the United Nations warned on Wednesday.

The UN’s World Meteorological Organization stated ranges of the three fundamental greenhouse gases – climate-warming carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – broke all data final yr.

Such ranges of heat-trapping gases imply additional temperature will increase, extra excessive climate and better sea ranges, the WMO stated in its nineteenth annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

“Despite years of warnings from the scientific group, hundreds of pages of stories and dozens of local weather conferences, we’re nonetheless going in the incorrect route,” stated WMO chief govt Petteri Taalas.

The bulletin comes forward of the COP28 local weather summit which is able to happen in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December.

In the 2015 Paris Agreement nations agreed to restrict world warming to “properly under” two levels Celsius above common ranges measured between 1850 and 1900 – and 1.5C if doable.

The common world temperature in 2022 was 1.15C above the 1850-1900 common – and Taalas stated it was all however sure that 2023 could be the most well liked yr on record.

“The present stage of greenhouse gasoline concentrations places us on the trail to a temperature rise properly above the Paris Agreement targets by the tip of this century,” stated Taalas.

“This can be accompanied by extra excessive climate, together with intense warmth and rain, melting ice, rising sea ranges and warming and ocean acidification.

“The socio-economic and environmental prices will improve. We should scale back the consumption of fossil fuels as a matter of urgency.”

‘There isn’t any magic wand’

In 2022, carbon dioxide concentrations have been at 418 components per million, methane at 1,923 components per billion and nitrous oxide at 336 components per billion.

These values ​​symbolize, respectively, 150%, 264% and 124% of pre-industrial ranges (earlier than 1750).

Of the three main greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2) accounts for about 64% of the warming impact on the local weather.

The world common focus of CO2 in 2022 was, for the primary time, 50% above the pre-industrial period, and “continued to develop in 2023”, the WMO stated.

“Given the lengthy lifetime of CO2, the temperature stage already noticed will final for a number of years even when emissions are quickly lowered to zero,” the WMO warned, with Taalas including: “There isn’t any magic wand to cease the surplus -remove carbon dioxide from the ambiance”.

Atmospheric methane is the second largest contributor to local weather change, accounting for round 16% of the warming impact.

Methane solely stays in the ambiance for about 10 years, nevertheless it has a way more highly effective warming impact than CO2.

“We do not totally perceive why methane concentrations are steadily growing,” Taalas stated.

As for nitrous oxide – which accounts for about seven % of the warming impact – the rise final yr was “greater than noticed at any time earlier than in our trendy time record”, the WMO stated.

Around 80% of greenhouse gasoline emissions come from G20 nations.

Tipping factors

Although the scientific group has a broad understanding of local weather change and its implications, there are nonetheless some uncertainties concerning the carbon cycle – and the fluxes in the ocean, terrestrial biosphere and permafrost areas.

The bulletin referred to as for extra info on sure topics.

These included suggestions loops in the local weather system — for instance, a rise in carbon emissions from soils or a lower in carbon uptake in the oceans as a consequence of local weather change.

The WMO can also be involved about so-called tipping factors, when a sure stage of change results in self-accelerating and doubtlessly irreversible change.

It might be stated that components of the Amazon rainforest, which has lengthy been a carbon sink, are actually a supply of carbon emissions as a consequence of deforestation.

The group stated extra info can also be wanted on non-CO2 greenhouse gases.

Taalas stated the wars in Ukraine and Gaza have been liable to spilling over into local weather change, which “stays the best problem to the well-being of humanity this century”.

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