It can’t really be a surprise to discover that CO2 levels have reached an all-time high. Record concentrations of carbon dioxide are prompting United Nations experts to urge world leaders to take swift action to curb emissions. In projections, the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 level is on track to reach a point equivalent to 143 percent of pre-industrial times. This milestone, which is expected to be reached next year, has the head of the UN’s weather agency calling for immediate action to cut carbon emissions in an attempt to steer away from a new “permanent reality” in which the Earth is irreparably scarred from the effects of climate change.
In its most recently issued Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) noted a 36 percent increase in planetary warming between 1990 and 2014, when CO2 levels reached an all-time high. Michel Jarraud, the WMO’s secretary general, says world leaders need to act swiftly to save the world from this “invisible threat.” He paints a terrifying picture of what is to come if drastic measures aren’t taken. “[Carbon dioxide] means hotter global temperatures, more extreme weather events like heatwaves and floods, melting ice, rising sea levels, and increased acidity of the oceans. This is happening now and we are moving into uncharted territory at a frightening speed,” he said.
This finding reaffirms the previous warning issued by Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre which researches governance of social-ecological systems. Rockström and 17 others penned a report published earlier this year in Science, explaining how the Earth has now surpassed four of its nine limits, putting us dangerously close to the point of no return when it comes to environmental destruction. As these limits are reached and exceeded, Rockström and his colleagues argue, the Earth gets one step closer to becoming unable to support human life.
The WMO, in addition to warning about current conditions on Earth, spends some of its time forecasting the weather of the future. In the video above, weather experts from around the globe illustrate what the conditions might be in the year 2050 which, if you’re paying attention, is not actually that far off in the distance.
The timing of the WMO’s plea couldn’t have been better, as world leaders prepare to meet in Paris in three weeks to devise a new global approach to cutting carbon emissions. Cross your fingers they find a solution before the whole planet goes up in a cloud of smog.
Via The Guardian