World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Greenhouse Gas Concentration Reached Record High in 2011

Greenhouse Gas Concentration Reached Record High in 2011, Says UN Report

New York, Nov 20 2012 - The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2011, according to a new United Nations report released today, ahead of the start next week of the latest round of global climate changes talks.

The UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which produced the 2011 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, said that between 1990 and 2011, there was a 30 per cent increase in radiative forcing -- the warming effect on the Earth's climate -- because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases.

Since the start of the industrial era in 1750, about 375 billion tonnes of carbon have been released into the atmosphere as CO2, primarily from fossil fuel combustion, the agency stated in a news release. About half of this carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere, while the rest is absorbed by the oceans and terrestrial biosphere.

"These billions of tonnes of additional carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will remain there for centuries, causing our planet to warm further and impacting on all aspects of life on Earth," said WMO's Secretary-General, Michel Jarraud. "Future emissions will only compound the situation."

The Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations -- and not emissions -- of greenhouse gases. Emissions represent what goes into the atmosphere. Concentrations are what remain in the atmosphere after the complex system of interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere and the oceans.

Mr. Jarraud noted that, until now, carbon sinks have absorbed nearly half of the carbon dioxide humans emitted in the atmosphere, but this will not necessarily continue in the future.

Carbon sinks are any process, activity or mechanism that removes a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Forests, soils and oceans are natural sinks for CO2.

"We have already seen that the oceans are becoming more acidic as a result of the carbon dioxide uptake, with potential repercussions for the underwater food chain and coral reefs," said Mr. Jarraud.

The role of carbon sinks is "pivotal" in the overall carbon equation, according to WMO. If the extra CO2 emitted is stored in reservoirs such as the deep oceans, it could be trapped for hundreds or even thousands of years, whereas new forests retain carbon for a much shorter time span.

The agency noted that carbon dioxide is the single most important greenhouse gas emitted by human activities, and is responsible for 85 per cent of the increase in radiative forcing over the past decade. It is also the most important long-lived greenhouse gas, with the others being methane and nitrous oxide.

Greenhouse gases will feature prominently on the agenda of the UN Climate Change Conference that begins in the Qatari capital of Doha on Monday, and which brings together the 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 193 of the UNFCCC Parties. Under the Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments.

The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Peace Deal ‘first Step’ In Resolving South Sudan Crisis

Children at a protection of civilians site in Juba, South Sudan, run by the UN Mission, perform at a special cultural event in March 2015. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine More>>

Yemen: Killing Or Maiming An Average Of Eight Children A Day

Killing or maiming an average of eight children a day, ‘brutal’ Yemen conflict must end – UNICEF More>>

Changing Habits/behaviours Key To Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy can be caused by factors such as negative beliefs based on myths, misinformation. Fear of needles can be a factor for refusal. Photo: PAHO/WHO More>>

Burundi: Ban Condemns Assassination Of Senior Army Officer

Refugees from Burundi in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Photo: OCHA/Naomi Frerotte United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the assassination Burundi’s former Army Chief of Staff, Colonel Jean Bikomagu, who ... More>>

Deadly Industrial Explosions In Northern China

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the injuries to scores of people as a result of deadly explosions in Tianjin, China. More>>

UN Urges Action To Tackle Deepening Refugee Crisis In Greece

A group of Syrian refugees arrive on the island of Lesbos after travelling in an inflatable raft from Turkey, near Skala Sykaminias, Greece. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell More>>

Probe Into Those Responsible For Chemical Weapons In Syria

The US Vessel Cape Ray, on which all 581 metric tonnes of a precursor chemical for sarin gas were removed from Syria and safely destroyed as the ship sailed in international waters in 2014. Photo: US Dept. of Transportation More>>

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news