As expected, greenhouse gas concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere hit another record last year, according to a new UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases means that radiative forcing—changes in the atmosphere’s energy balance that leads to warming—has jumped 30 percent in the last twenty years.
Carbon hit 390.9 parts per million in 2011, while methane and nitrous oxide also hit new highs: 1,813 parts per billion for methane and 324.2 parts per billion for nitrous oxide.
The news comes just days before the next UN Climate Summit kicks off in Doha, Qatar. In addition, yesterday the World Bank released a grim report on the world’s current global warming trajectory, even if nations keep all of their pledges on emissions cuts. The report found that by the end of the century, if not before, global temperatures will rise 4 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
“A world in which warming reaches 4°C above preindustrial levels [..] would be one of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods in many regions, with serious impacts on human systems, ecosystems, and associated services,” the World Bank report warns, noting that there will be “a rapidly rising risk of crop yield reductions as the world warms.”
(11/20/2012) A new report by the World Bank paints a bleak picture of life on Earth in 80 years: global temperatures have risen by 4 degrees Celsius spurring rapidly rising sea levels and devastating droughts. Global agriculture is under constant threat; economies have been hampered; coastal cities are repeatedly flooded; coral reefs are dissolving from ocean acidification; and species worldwide are vanishing. This, according to the World Bank, is where we are headed even if all of the world’s nations meet their pledges on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. However, the report also notes that with swift, aggressive action it’s still possible to ensure that global temperatures don’t rise above 4 degrees Celsius.
(11/19/2012) Yesterday, climate activists marched around the White House in opposition against the Keystone XL pipeline, which if built will carry tar sands from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and an international market. The protest, which included over 3,000 people according to organizing groups, is an opening salvo in activists’ battle to convince the Obama Administration to turn down the pipeline for good.
(11/15/2012) Following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy—which many scientists say was likely worsened by climate change—and a long silence on the issue of global warming during the Presidential campaign, environmentalists yesterday were disappointed when re-elected President Barack Obama seemingly put action on climate change on the back burner.