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

 

'Very Concerned' After Court Ruling: UNHRC On Transfer Of 267 People From Australia To Nauru

Most of these people were reportedly brought to Australia from Nauru to receive medical treatment and are in a fragile physical and mental state. The group includes more than 12 women and at least one child who have allegedly suffered sexual assault or harassment while in Nauru. The group also includes 37 children born in Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Sanctions To Be Lifted: NZ Welcomes Implementation Of Iran Nuclear Deal

Duty Minister Nikki Kaye has welcomed the next stage in the historic nuclear deal between Iran, the Five Permanent (P5) members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany... “New Zealand has now started the domestic process for removing the UN sanctions." More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Davos Reports: 62 People Own Same Wealth As Half The World

Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population – a figure that has fallen from 388 just five years ago, according to an Oxfam report published today ahead of the annual gathering of the world’s financial and political elites in Davos.. More>>

ALSO:

Jakarta: UN Secretary-General On Attacks

The Secretary-General condemns the bombings and gun attacks in Jakarta today... there is absolutely no justification for such acts of terrorism. He hopes the perpetrators of today's attacks will be swiftly brought to justice. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: America, The Gated

How, in a global metropolis like New York, do you write about immigration as a problem to be solved? And yet immigration is a hot button issue among those fighting to break away from the unruly clump of starters in the race for Republican nominee. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news