WMO report says ‘No end in sight’ to rising greenhouse gas emissions


Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau

UNITED NATIONS, 16th Nov. World Meteorological Organization on Wednesday said in a report published that the greenhouse gas emissions reached a record high in 2022 with “no end in sight to the rising trend”.

The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin came ahead of the UN climate change conference COP28 which opens in Dubai in two weeks.

WMO said that fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – account for most greenhouse gas emissions, which trap the sun’s heat, leading to global warming and climate change.

The global averaged concentrations of the most important greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) were a full 50 per cent above the pre-industrial era, marked a first, and continued to grow in 2023.

It reported methane concentrations grew and levels of nitrous oxide, the third main gas, saw the highest year-on-year increase on record from 2021 to 2022.

Petteri Taalas, the WMO Secretary-General said “Despite decades of warnings from the scientific community, thousands of pages of reports and dozens of climate conferences, we are still heading in the wrong direction.”

The current trajectory “puts us on the pathway of an increase in temperatures well above the Paris Agreement targets by the end of this century,” he added.

He referred to efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The countries will experience more extreme weather, including intense heat and rainfall, ice melt, sea-level rise and ocean heat and acidification.

“The socioeconomic and environmental costs will soar,” he warned. “We must reduce the consumption of fossil fuels as a matter of urgency.”

WMO explained that under half of CO2 emissions remain in the atmosphere, while over a quarter are absorbed by the ocean and just under 30 per cent by “land ecosystems” such as forests.

The agency noted that as long as emissions continue, CO2 will continue accumulating in the atmosphere leading to global temperature rise.

It added that given its long life, the temperature level already observed will persist for several decades even if emissions are rapidly reduced to net zero.

The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3 to 5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2 to 3°Celsius warmer and sea level was 10 to 20 metres higher.

“There is no magic wand to remove the excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” said Mr. Taalas.

He stressed that WMO initiative announced this year aims to ensure sustained, routine global monitoring of greenhouse gas concentrations and fluxes to improve understanding around climate change and support action on mitigation.

Mr. Taalas said the Global Greenhouse Gas Watch “will greatly improve sustained observations and monitoring to support more ambitious climate goals.”

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