Report: Greenhouse Gases at All-Time High, 'We Are Running Out of Time'

Beijing smog as seen from the China World Hotel, March 2003. Photo by Kevin Dooley, via Flickr.Yet another report from actual scientists suggests what needs to be accepted as fact by now: the world is burning and humans are at fault. According to Reuters, the World Meteorological Organization said on Tuesday that carbon dioxide concentrations grew faster in 2013 than at any point since reliable records began. The results? A changing climate and extreme weather, all because humans continue to burn fossil fuels.

"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," Jarraud said. "We are running out of time."

In 2013, CO2 numbered 396.0 parts per million (ppm) and routinely breached the arbitrary (and scary) 400 ppm plateau. Many scientists think 2014's average will stay above the mark.

According to the BBC, the WMO's annual…

…Greenhouse Gas Bulletin doesn't measure emissions from power station smokestacks but instead records how much of the warming gases remain in the atmosphere after the complex interactions that take place between the air, the land and the oceans.

Atmospheric CO2 is now at 142% of the levels in 1750, before the start of the industrial revolution.

Perhaps even more worrying, according to the report, is that the Earth's biosphere was less able to reduce the carbon uptake than in recent years. It was a puzzling addition to the equation because the last time there was a reduction in this necessary balance was 1998, when there "was extensive burning of biomass worldwide, coupled with El Nino conditions." 2013 saw no such conditions.

Climate is complicated. There are so many variables and moving pieces that there is still plenty to understand and research about the ever evolving (and perhaps devolving) state of this planet, but one thing remains undeniable: Humans are doing this. The data in the report indicates that "between 1990 and 2013 there was a 34 percent increase in the warming impact on the climate because carbon dioxide and other gases like methane and nitrous oxide survive for such a long time in the atmosphere." And now the oceans, which have worked for centuries to offset the carbon emissions from humans, are getting sick too. It's not just the sky anymore.

Every day, according to the WMO, the oceans take up about 4kg of CO2 per person. They believe the current rate of acidification is unprecedented over the last 300 million years.

 

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