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WMO: Greenhouse Gases in Atmosphere at Records Highs

  • Lisa Schlein

Smoke rises from a brick kiln on the outskirts of Gauhati, India, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. The World Meteorological Organization reports greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere last year hit a new high and 2015 looks as though it will be another record-breaking year for gases that cause global warming.

Smoke rises from a brick kiln on the outskirts of Gauhati, India, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. The World Meteorological Organization reports greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere last year hit a new high and 2015 looks as though it will be another record-breaking year for gases that cause global warming.

The World Meteorological Organization warns of a relentless rise in the greenhouse gases fueling climate change. WMO reports greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere last year hit a new high and 2015 looks as though it will be another record-breaking year for gases that cause global warming.

During the past 25 years, the agency says there has been a 36 percent increase in the warming effect on Earth’s climate. This is due principally to carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud says these long-lived gases are making the planet more dangerous and inhospitable for future generations.

“Every year, we have been reporting that we are breaking new records," said Jarraud. "Every year, we say that time is running out and this year just adds to this pressure. And, it is very important that these figures are taken into account by the negotiators.”

Jarraud says he sees political momentum building among negotiators who will meet in three weeks at a climate conference in Paris. Their aim is to adopt an agreement to tackle climate change; but he tells VOA he is not optimistic about the final result.

“The commitments, which are on the table, are not yet enough to stay within this two degree target, which was agreed," said Jarraud.

Jarraud is referring to national commitments to cut carbon gas emissions, which will not limit global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius this century.

He notes carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, is responsible for 83 percent of the total increase in global warming during the past 10 years.

He says it will not be possible to halt climate change without making significant cuts in gases like this one.

WMO chief Jarraud calls CO2 an invisible, but real threat, saying its continuous rise is causing hotter global temperatures and more extreme weather.

He says the speed with which this is happening must be stopped and that sticking to business as usual is not an option.

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