Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached record levels

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached record levels

Fueled in large part by the emissions from automobiles and fossil fuel-burning power plants, concentrations of almost all of the major heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rose tor record levels last year. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in particular rose by the largest amount in three decades.

According to an annual report, known as the annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the world is headed towards a future that is warm and grim, with oceans that are more acidic and almost completely inhospitable. A single molecule of carbon dioxide can remain aloft for centuries, meaning that today’s emission will affect us for many generations to come.

The WMO’s report also suggests that the Earth’s natural filtration systems, in which plants and the ocean absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide, are starting to fail. The organizations scientists believe that these filtration systems are approaching what may be a saturation point. Should this prove to be true, it would imply far greater impacts for global warming in the years to come.

“We are running out of time,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years. We must reverse this trend by cutting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases across the board.”

Read more about the story at The Washington Post.




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