[LONDON] The level of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere climbed to a record last year, helping drive long-term climate change, rising sea levels and more extreme weather, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose 0.5 per cent from 2016, the WMO said in a report being presented to the United Nations on Thursday. Among the increased emissions, there has been a resurgence of CFC-11, a supposedly regulated greenhouse gas that depletes ozone.
"The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
The WMO report is the latest evidence showing that the world is on a path towards warming. The UN will hold its climate change negotiations next month in Poland. The objective of the meeting is to agree what action to take to hold the global average temperature increase to as close as possible to 1.5°C. A report earlier this year by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that net emissions must reach zero by 2050 to achieve this.
Carbon dioxide "remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years and in the oceans for even longer," WMO Deputy Secretary-General Elena Manaenkova said in a report being presented to the United Nations on Thursday. "Every fraction of a degree of global warming matters, and so does every part per million of greenhouse gases."