Climate change: The amount of global-warming greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has reached new highs

UN experts have warned that if emissions continue to grow, global temperatures and weather extremes such as strong heat and rainfall, glacier melt, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification would rise as well.

UN scientists have warned that levels of planet-warming greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit new highs last year, barely a week before global climate talks begin.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere climbed at a higher rate in 2020 than at any time in the preceding decade, according to the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), with the trend continuing into 2021.

Even the COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdowns “had no noticeable influence on atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases and their growth rates,” according to the paper, despite a short drop in new emissions.

According to WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas, if greenhouse gas concentrations continue to grow at current rates, the planet would overheat “far in excess” of the Paris Agreement limits of 1.5-2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.

As long as emissions continue to grow, global temperatures will rise, resulting in increasing weather extremes such as severe heat and downpour, glacier melt, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification, as well as far-reaching socioeconomic consequences.

Prof Taalas cautioned that the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin offers a “sharp, scientific warning for climate change negotiators at COP26.”

From next Monday, world leaders and negotiators will gather in Glasgow for two weeks of rigorous climate talks, generally seen as the world’s best final opportunity to escape climatic collapse.

Despite the fact that COP26 may witness a significant rise in promises, the globe must “convert our commitment into action,” according to the United Nations.

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Prof. Taalas explained.

He asked people throughout the world to “revisit our industrial, energy, and transportation systems, as well as our whole way of life.”

“The necessary improvements are both financially and technically feasible. There isn’t any more time to waste “Added he.

CO2, the most significant greenhouse gas, reaching 413.2 parts per million in 2020, which is 149 percent more than pre-industrial levels. Methane (CH4) levels are 262% and nitrous oxide (N2O) levels are 123 percent higher than they were in 1750, when human activities began to upset Earth’s natural equilibrium.

Prof Euan Nisbet of Royal Holloway’s Greenhouse Gas Group described methane’s “extreme development” as “particularly concerning.”

“This shows that powerful feedbacks are at work, with warming feeding on itself,” he added.