THE GREENHOUSE GAS BULLETIN from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) provided figures for globally averaged concentrations of three key climate-heating gases in 2018: nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4). The presence of these three gases in our atmosphere have increased by 123%, 147%, and 259% of pre-industrial levels (levels prior to 1750).
The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin noted. that in terms of contributions to warming the climate, “carbon dioxide is the single most important anthropogenic GHG in the atmosphere” among all long-lived greenhouse gases, the primary focus of the report.
“We need to translate the commitments into action and increase the level of ambition for the sake of the future welfare of mankind.”
Approximately 60% of CH4 and 40% of N2O emitted into the atmosphere comes from human activities such as biomass burning, cattle farming, fossil fuel exploitation, landfills, rice agriculture, fertilizer use, and various industrial processes.
From 2017 to 2018, concentrations of all three gases surged by higher amounts than the yearly increases documented over the past decade.
The future welfare of mankind
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas tied the bulletin’s findings to the necessity of bolder climate action on a global scale:
“There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris agreement on climate change. We need to translate the commitments into action and increase the level of ambition for the sake of the future welfare of mankind.”
The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago [and] the temperature was 2-3°C warmer while sea level was 30-60 feet higher than now.
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FEATURED IMAGE: The cartoon at the top of this page is by Patrick Chappatte for Le Temps (April 28, 2015). In this new century, our most populous state has endured prolonged drought, inundating storms and raging wildfires. For more on the award-winning cartoonist Patrick Chappatte, click HERE.