Greenhouse gases reached record highs in 2011, says U.N. study

CNN, By Matthew Knight, November 30

Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere reached record highs in 2011, according to new data published by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The WMO’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, released Tuesday, reports that carbon dioxide rose to 390.9 parts per million (ppm), up two ppm on 2010 levels.

Carbon dioxide is the single most important greenhouse gas emitted by humans, says the WMO, and the increases recorded last year are in line with average rises seen each year over the last decade.

Combined with average yearly rises of 1.5 ppm during the 1990s, the WMO says radiative forcing (the warming effect on our climate) by long-lived greenhouse gases has now increased 30% since 1990.

[…]

Around 60% of methane released into the atmosphere comes from human activities such as farming, rice agriculture, fossil fuel exploitation, landfill and biomass burning, according to the WMO. In 2011, concentrations reached a new high of 1813 parts per billion (ppb), 259% higher than pre-industrial levels.

Emissions of nitrous oxide — 40% of which are estimated to come from human activity — reached 324.2 ppb, up one ppb on the 2010 figure and 120% higher than pre-industrial times.


Sign the petition! End fossil fuel industry subsidies and tax breaks; redirect funds toward renewable energies, climate solutions.

1 comment to Greenhouse gases reached record highs in 2011, says U.N. study

  • Raja

    Emissions of Carbon Dioxide Hit Record in 2011, Researchers Say

    New York Times, By Justin Gillis & John Broder, December 2

    Global emissions of carbon dioxide were at a record high in 2011 and are likely to take a similar jump in 2012, scientists reported Sunday — the latest indication that efforts to limit such emissions are failing.

    Emissions continue to grow so rapidly that an international goal of limiting the ultimate warming of the planet to 3.6 degrees, established three years ago, is on the verge of becoming unattainable, said researchers affiliated with the Global Carbon Project.

    Josep G. Canadell, a scientist in Australia who leads that tracking program, said Sunday in a statement that salvaging the goal, if it can be done at all, “requires an immediate, large and sustained global mitigation effort.”

    […]

    But the decline of emissions in the developed countries is more than matched by continued growth in developing countries like China and India, the new figures show. Coal, the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, is growing fastest, with coal-related emissions leaping more than 5 percent in 2011, compared with the previous year.

Leave a Reply

Users