Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Hit Highest Recorded Levels In Human History, WMO Reports

A general view of a factory billowing smoke into the air at the Port of Rotterdam on October 27, 2017 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images

The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Gas Bulletin reveals that average concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) hit 407.8 parts per million in 2018, which is both an increase from 2017 and a record high, Newsweek reports.

The increase in CO2 concentrations between 2017 and 2018 is reportedly similar to the one seen from 2016 to 2017. Such a leap is allegedly slightly more than the average increases observed across the last decade.

Research suggests that greenhouse gases such as CO2 trap heat in the atmosphere and such increases have been used by climate researchers to conclude that this is a major contributor to climate change — a broad pattern that includes reports of increasing sea temperature and more frequent incidences of extreme weather. In addition, the report of CO2 passing 400 parts per million in 2015 — the first time this has occurred in three to five million years — was seen by many researchers as a sign for concern for the climate.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas claims greenhouse gases like CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide show no signs of curbing or decreasing.

“There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We need to translate the commitments into action and increase the level of ambition for the sake of the future welfare of mankind.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) claims that carbon dioxide is responsible for approximately 80 percent of the observed warming effect created by greenhouse gases.

“It is worth recalling that the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago. Back then, the temperature was 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer, sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now,” Taalas noted.

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According to Pep Canadell, a climate scientist with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and executive director of the Global Carbon Project, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will continue to rise until emissions from fossil fuel combustion, industrial sources, and agriculture activities are brought close to zero. Once this is achieved, Canadell claims that “stabilization in the atmosphere” is possible, CNET reports.

Per CNET, over 11,000 scientists declared a climate emergency earlier this month in the face of reports of the adverse effects of climate change, including pushing species close to extinction, harm to human health, and increased temperatures.

Despite warnings, climate change skepticism remains. As The Inquisitr reported, a study suggested that only 59 percent of Americans view climate change as a significant threat, and YouTube continues to host videos from bloggers and video bloggers who spread misinformation about the reported crisis.