Greenhouse gas levels rise to new record in 2006
November 23, 2007
Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels hit a new record in 2006 according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the U.N. weather agency.
Based on readings from 44 countries, the WMO said that the global average concentrations of CO2 rose by half a percent from 2005 to reach 381.2 parts per million (ppm). Nitrous oxide (N2O)–another important greenhouse gas–also reached record levels, increasing by about a quarter of one percent over the past year. Methane levels remained stable.
Geir Braathen, a climate specialist at WMO, told the Associated Press that CO2 playing an increasingly significant role in global warming, with CO2 contributing 87 percent to the warming effect over the last decade, but 91 percent in the last five years alone
“This shows that CO2 is gaining importance as a greenhouse gas,” said Braathen.
Last week the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that average temperatures have risen 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century. The report said that “continued greenhouse-gas emissions at or above current rates would induce climate changes that would be ‘very likely’ (meaning a 90% likelihood) to exceed those observed during the twentieth century.” The report also warned of increased extinction risk, higher probability of drought and severe weather, and rising sea levels.
“Delayed emission reductions significantly constrain the opportunities… and increase the risk of more severe climate change impacts,” said the report.
IPCC said that present atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are far higher than the natural range over the last 650,000 years.