By Shamel Dishack
Petteri Taalas, the General Secretary of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), has issued a warning in a speech highlighting the growing fears of Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere. According to the United Nations Weather Agency, levels of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere are at their highest, which has surged at an astonishing speed in 2016. Figures also show that concentrations have reached 403.3 parts per million (ppm) in 2016, a significant increase from 400 ppm in 2015.
The UN News Centre reports that the WMO Atmosphere Watch Programme had monitored these increases, and its findings are explained thoroughly in the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin report. The findings reveal unprecedented increases in the levels of CO2 emission and the consequences that our world could face. Going further, the report states that if left unchecked, the CO2 emissions into the atmosphere will intensify climate, increase the severity of greenhouse effect, and lead to irreversible and devastating consequences upon our ecosystem and planet.
According to the World Meterologicl Organization, the Gas Bulletin shows how human activities such as population growth, intensified agricultural practices, increases in land use and deforestation, rapid industrialization and energy consumption through fossil fuel sources, have all contributed to the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Once released, CO2 lingers around the atmosphere for hundreds of years, and even longer in water. The General Secretary stated that there exists no remedy to remove the CO2 in the atmosphere, but we can mitigate its release through implementing measures that reduce pollution and encourage rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
So far, the Paris Agreement remains inoperable, with many unsure of its long-term efficacy. Unless the implementation of the Paris Agreement begins, climate change and other drastic consequences will reach a critical point of no return. The authors of the report urged policymakers to consider stepping up countermeasures to reduce the risk of global warming exceeding the interval of 1.5 to 2 Celsius, a target range placed by the Paris Agreement, according to the Guardian
The failures of national governments to live up to the expectations of the agreement has not gone unnoticed, with the United States receiving the most criticism after it had pulled out of the agreement, enacted by President Trump. Since then, the United States has not changed its position on the Paris Climate Agreement, but points out that it is open for negotiations for more favorable terms, reports USA Today. As of now, the United States is the only country to remain opposed to the Agreement.
As for the rest of the countries that have signed the Agreement, they are now in the process of augmenting its guidelines with pragmatic and multilateral steps. On November 6, the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has opened in Bonn, Germany, with the government of Fiji presiding over the talks.
Although the Unites States has declared its retreat from the Agreement, it is a four-year process, which means that the United States still has a seat in the conference. President Trump, in reaction to the conference, has sent a small delegation spearheaded by diplomat Thomas Shannon, reports Climate Home News. Although the current tone of the conference sounds promising, it is going to take more than that to reverse the damages afflicted on the atmosphere and planet.
The WMO, in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme, will continue to monitor changes in atmospheric levels, caution nations on the dangers of current practices, and track steps and contributions governments worldwide are making to address these frightening numbers and results. However, for success to occur, nations must assume the mantle of Earth’s protectors and save it from an impending doom.