The subject of climate change has been on the agenda for several decades. Yet, despite efforts from international governments, the world has been unable to stop the rise in greenhouse gases.
We are in fact, according to the World Meteorological Organization, now at a critical level which we will be unable to reduce for “many generations”.
Largely to blame for the spike in greenhouse gases is the El Niño phenomenon. Lack of rain and drought conditions in usually tropical regions caused less absorption of CO2 than usual, due to a decrease in vegetational growth.
Forest fires also emit heavily toxic gases, and the dry conditions were responsible for many of these in 2015 and 2016.
These weather conditions served to increase levels of CO2 in our atmosphere to way above average. CO2 levels are now above 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in approximately four million years.
The Human Impact
Despite the disappearance of El Niño, the human impact on toxic gas emission is still very real and present.WMO Secretary General, Petteri Taalas, says that we are in:
“A new era of climate change reality with record high greenhouse gas concentrations.”
Human behaviors, such as pollution from cars, planes and factories, as well as actions with greater impact, such as deforestation, industrial manufacturing, and burning carbon fuels all need to be reduced.
The WMO remains firm in its stance that nations must maintain their focus strongly on cutting back their CO2 emissions.Without tackling CO2 emissions, in fact, we cannot begin to tackle climate change.
Last year, some 200 nations signed the Paris climate agreement to reduce CO2 emissions, and will meet again this November in Morocco to decide on the next steps forward.