WMO: Greenhouse gases will keep rising
By Anders Lorenzen
On the eve of the COP28 UN climate summit, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a United Nations (UN) body, has warned that the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) is forecast to continue the trend that resulted in record-high CO2 measurements last year.
The agency said that in 2022 the global average concentrations of CO2 were for the first time ever 50% above the pre-industrial level. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas has said: “Despite decades of warnings from the scientific community, thousands of pages of reports and dozens of climate conferences, we are still heading in the wrong direction.”
More extreme weather events can be expected
Petteri Taalas explained that the higher concentrations of GHG would be accompanied by more extreme weather events, including intense heat and rainfall, ice melt, higher sea levels, as well as ocean heat and acidification.
He added: “About half of the planet has been facing an increase of flooding events, and one third of the planet has been facing an increase of drought events. This negative trend will continue until 2060s.”
And he said in words that could be interpreted as a direct instruction to world leaders, policy makers and negotiators ahead of COP28, “We must reduce the consumption of fossil fuels as a matter of urgency.”
The WMO reported that other potent GHG in the atmosphere also needed urgent attention, as methane concentrations were also increasing, and nitrous oxide saw the biggest year-on-year increase between 2021 and 2022.
GHG emissions and concentrations ,which have already been emitted, will stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years and shape future warming.
COP28 will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – one of the world’s largest fossil fuel producers.