By Baher Kamal: Credit: UNEP
Almost inadvertently, humankind is getting closer everyday to the point of no-return towards what could be called the ‘climate doomsday’. Now, globally averaged concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has surged again to new records in 2016… and will not dip below pre-2015 levels for many generations.
The warning comes from the United Nations weather agency–the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and further confirms the alarm of climate experts and world specialised organisations.
On the one hand, the WMO secretary-general, Petteri Taalas said that 2015 ushered in a new era of optimism and climate action with the Paris climate change agreement. “But it will also make history as marking a new era of climate change reality with record high greenhouse gas concentrations.”
“Without tackling carbon dioxide emissions, we cannot tackle climate change and keep temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celcius above the pre-industrial era… It is therefore of the utmost importance that the Paris Agreement does indeed enter into force well ahead of schedule on 4 November and that we fast-track its implementation,” Taalas on 24 October 2016 stressed.
The weather agency had warned earlier this year that the Earth is already one degree Celsius hotter than at the start of the 20th century, halfway to the critical two-degree threshold, and that national climate change plans adopted so far may not be enough to avoid a three-degree temperature rise.
CO2 levels had previously reached the 400 parts per million barrier for certain months of the year and in certain locations “but never before on a global average basis for the entire year.” According to WMO, the growth spurt in carbon dioxide was fuelled by the El Niño event, which started in 2015 and had a strong impact well into 2016.