New figures show greenhouse gas emissions have reached an all-time high. On Tuesday, the United Nations said global emissions broke all previous records in 2011. Unveiling an annual report on emissions, Michel Jarraud of the World Meteorological Organization warned the increase will likely assure a global temperature rise of more than two degrees Celsius.
Michel Jarraud: “The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has reached once again a record — a record level in 2011. The current concentration of the major anthropogenic greenhouse gases, like CO2, like methane, like nitrous oxide, are now such that the target of remaining within a two degrees termperature increase is getting increasingly unlikely.”
Jarraud added that the increase includes record levels of gases most responsible for global warming — carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — which will remain in the atmosphere for centuries.
Michel Jarraud: “Between 1990 and 2011, so over the last essentially 20 years, there has been a 30 percent increase in radiative forcing. An increase in radiative forcing means an increase in the temperature. It’s what causes the warming effect on our climate. Some of these gases, in particular CO2, once it’s released in the atmosphere, will stay there for very, very long times, centuries even, even longer. So even if we were able to stop new emission tomorrow, and we know it’s not feasible, but even if we were able to do that, these greenhouse gases, which have already been sent in the atmosphere, will continue to have an effect for actually centuries.”