Carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is increasing at an unprecedented rate. It is now at a level that has not been breached since millions of years, says a United Nations report. Such drastic increase in CO2 may lead to a dangerous rise in sea levels. It could also lead to an increase of three degrees to global temperatures, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has said. This could lead to tremendous global warming.
The level of CO2 is increasing far faster than ever before. In 2016, it increased by more than 50 per cent over the average for the previous 10 years. This has its level to 45 per cent over pre-industrial level. This have never happened before in recorded history: the earth has not seen such a rapid and intense rise. This increase has occurred 100 times faster than the time when the world was just emerging from the previous ice age.
“Today’s CO2 concentration of around 400ppm exceeds the natural variability seen over hundreds of thousands of years,” a WMO bulletin has said.
“Globally averaged concentration of carbon dioxide reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015 due to a combination of human activities and a strong El Nino event,” the report said. The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin is the UN’s annual weather report, which tracks dangerous gasses in the atmosphere, particularly in the post-industrial era, starting from 1750.
Global warming and climate change are proving catastrophic
Let us look at some of NASA’s own numbers: Temperatures globally have increased by more than one degree since the 1880s. Nine out of the 10 warmest years have occurred since the year 2000. Arctic Ice is at its lowest. Sea level is rising at the rate of 3.4 mm per year. This could lead to large parts of the habitable world getting submerged in water. The report has also said that human carbon dioxide emissions due to oil, coal, cement and deforestation reached record levels in 2016. The El Nino pushed it even higher.
“Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, we will be heading for dangerous temperature increases by the end of this century, well above the target set by the Paris climate change agreement,” WMO chief Petteri Taalas has said.
According to the data, the last time the world experienced such carbon dioxide level was three to five million years ago, when sea level was 20 meter higher than the present.
Climate change setback after US President Donald Trump reached the White House
However, efforts at combating global warming and climate change have received a serious setback after Donald Trump became the President of the United States of America. In June 2017, President Trump announced that he will pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. He argues that the Paris treaty puts the USA at a disadvantageous position with respect to other countries. Shortly after the announcement, there has been a growing chorus against the decision of Trump. In fact, criticism of President Trump’s climate change policy is growing every second.
Climate change made America poorer by $350 billion: US government report
Hurricanes, wildfires, and floods are wreaking havoc in the USA. Extreme weather phenomena costs the America billions of dollars every year. A Government Accountability Office study recently said that US federal government spent $350 billion over ten years for disaster relief as well as assistance programs, if one were to count the losses from crop insurance and floods. Experts say the GAO figure could rise if it includes damage due to the hurricanes and wildfires this year. The total damage may make 2017 as the most expensive year in the country’s history as far as disaster control and mitigation is concerned. All this is happening due to human-induced climate change and pollution. The economic damage may increase as climate change becomes more intense and global warming become more severe. The report itself has warned of a rise in frequency of extreme weather events.
The fact of the matter is that 195 countries have already signed the Paris climate agreement 2015. With Nicaragua deciding to join the agreement recently, this leaves out only two nations: the World’s biggest economy USA and war zone Syria. The treaty proposes to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as prevent environment disasters such as climate change and global warming. The treaty also tries to bring countries to one platform to prevent global temperatures from rising by more than two degrees in the next fifty years.
The findings of the report increase the importance and urgency of the upcoming Bonn Climate Change Conference. Environment ministers from across the globe are going to deliberate and work on guidelines from the Paris Accord during the Bonn Climate Talks.
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