World leaders are set to attend the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-26) to be held in Scotland next week amid several warnings and projections about the climate crisis. Ahead of this conference, the United Nations said on Monday that the level of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere reached a record high level last year.
The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) of the United Nations states that the annual rate of increase in greenhouse gas levels last year was higher than the annual average between 2011 and 2020. The bulletin states that this is happening in 2021 as well. Rising levels of greenhouse gases have been reported as a matter of serious concern.
The WMO said that due to the economic slowdown caused by the corona virus global pandemic, there has been a temporary decline in new emissions of greenhouse gases. However, there is no apparent effect on atmospheric levels of these gases and their rate of increase. It said that as long as emissions continue, global temperatures will continue to rise.
Given the long life span of carbon dioxide, previously recorded temperature levels will persist for several decades, even if emissions rapidly drop to zero. WMO chief Petrie Talas said the greenhouse gas bulletin has a clear scientific message for climate change negotiators attending COP-26.
Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide are the three major greenhouse gases. Of these, CO2 is responsible for about 66 percent of the increase in temperature. In the year 2020, the level of CO2 reached 413.2 ppm (parts per million). It has increased by 2.5 ppm. Only about half of the CO2 emitted by humans remains in the atmosphere.