The World Meteorological Organization reported that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a record high last year, with “no end in sight” to the trend.
The warning comes only weeks before world leaders convene in Dubai for the annual United Nations General Assembly.
The COP28 climate summit will see governments argue for more climate action, including the probable phase-out of fossil fuels before 2050.
Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere
(Photo : Getty Images/NHAC NGUYEN)
Carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, is currently 50% higher than it was before the Industrial Revolution.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, equivalent amounts of CO2 have not been seen on Earth for 3-5 million years, when global temperatures were 2-3 degrees Celsius higher and sea levels were 10-20 meters higher than they are now.
The report also said that concentrations of the two other major greenhouse gases, methane and nitrous oxide, have also increased.
Greenhouse gas levels will continue to rise until emissions are reduced to net zero, implying that global warming and the effects of extreme weather will likewise rise.
Despite progress on renewable energy and electric vehicles, countries are failing to deliver on practically every policy required to reduce emissions.
It stated, for example, that coal must be phased out seven times quicker than is currently occurring in order to avert the worst effects of global warming.
“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,” said Prof Petteri Taalas, the WMO’s secretary-general.
Reduce Consumption Of Fossil Fuel
Taalas predicted that greater greenhouse gas concentrations would be followed by more extreme weather events, including intense heat and rainfall, ice melt, rising sea levels, and ocean heat and acidity.
Approximately half of the planet has seen an increase in flooding events, and one-third of the planet has seen an increase in drought events, and this negative trend is expected to continue until the 2060s.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) will continue to accumulate in the atmosphere as long as emissions persist, causing global temperatures to rise.
Furthermore, due to its long lifespan, the current temperature level will endure for several decades even if emissions are immediately reduced to net zero.
The last time the Earth saw a comparable quantity of CO2 was 3 to 5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2 to 3 degrees Celsius higher and sea level was 10 to 20 meters higher.
“We must reduce the consumption of fossil fuels as a matter of urgency,” Taalas said.
In September, the International Energy Agency said that global demand for oil, gas, and coal will begin to fall this decade, signaling the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era.
However, the IEA stated that this was “nowhere near steep enough” to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the internationally agreed limit.
According to a new UN assessment, the world’s fossil fuel companies are contemplating expansions that would double the planet’s carbon budget.
The proposals, according to experts, are “insane” and “call humanity’s future into question.”
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