GENEVA – Levels of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere reached record levels in 2016, according to a bulletin released by the World Meteorological Organization on Monday.
The findings were published just days before the start of a United Nations conference on climate change, taking place from Nov. 6-17 in the western German city of Bonn.
“Emissions of CO2 from human activities were again at record levels in 2016,” the report said.
“These emissions, together with the 2015 and 2016 natural emissions related to El Niño, have contributed to the record increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.”
In 2016, atmospheric CO2 content reached a global average of 403.3 parts per million – 3.3 ppm greater than that of 2015.
“The record increase of 3.3 ppm in CO2 from 2015 to 2016 was larger than the previous record increase, observed from 2012 to 2013,” said the WMO report.
According to the WMO, the current concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere represented 145 percent of pre-industrial levels – that is, before 1750.
The WMO said that the record increase was greater than the average growth rate in the past 10 years and that El Niño had been a contributing factor.
“The longer we wait to implement the Paris Agreement, the greater the commitment and the more drastic (and expensive) the required emission reductions will need to be to keep climate change within critical limits,” the report said.