U.N. climate change report: “We are running out of time”
Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are at their highest level in 30 years as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, according to a United Nations report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The WMO reported that carbon dioxide levels increased more between 2012 and 2013 than any other year since 1984 due to “reduced CO2 uptake by the earth’s biosphere” and increasing carbon emissions in the form of energy use, including electricity and fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.
For the first time, the annual report worked with the various oceanic research partners to show that ocean acidity is increasing as the ocean absorbs one-fourth of human-caused carbon emissions — more than eight pounds of carbon dioxide per person every day. That rate, the report said, “appears unprecedented at least over the last 300 million years.”
“Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for many hundreds of years and in the ocean for even longer. Past, present and future CO2 emissions will have a cumulative impact on both global warming and ocean acidification. The laws of physics are non-negotiable,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said. “We are running out of time.”