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UN Warns World ‘Way Off Track’ As Greenhouse Gases Grow

As long as emissions continue, global temperatures will continue to rise, said UN

UN Warns World 'Way Off Track' As Greenhouse Gases Grow
Highlights
  • COP 26 will start from October 31 this year
  • At present, the global temperature rose to 1.2 degrees Celsius
  • Roughly half the CO2 emitted by human activity remains in atmosphere: UN

Geneva: Greenhouse gas concentrations hit a new record in 2020, the U.N. weather agency said on Monday, warning that the world was “way off track” for capping rising temperatures. A World Meteorological Organization report showed that carbon dioxide levels surged to 413.2 parts per million in 2020, rising more than the average rate over the last decade despite a temporary emissions dip during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Also Read: Climate Change, Human Pressure Making Migration Tough For Animals, Finds Study

Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said that the current rate of increase in heat-trapping gases would result in temperature rises “far in excess” of the 2015 Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average this century.

“We are way off track. We need to revisit our industrial, energy and transport systems and whole way of life,” he said, calling for a “dramatic increase” in commitments at the COP26 conference beginning Oct. 31.

Carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for centuries so concentrations are different from emissions which fluctuate depending on the current level of fossil fuels burnt.

This long shelf-life also means climate scientists expect warming to persist for decades, even if deep carbon emissions cuts are made immediately.

Nearly 200 countries meet in Glasgow, Scotland next month with a view to increasing efforts to tackle global warming.

‘Alarming’ Amazon Data

The annual report by the Geneva-based agency measures the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, the gases that are warming the planet and triggering extreme weather events like heatwaves and intense rainfall.

The report confirmed, as expected, that the COVID-19 economic slowdown “did not have any discernible impact on the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases and their growth rates.”

It added that early readings showed levels of carbon dioxide, the gas that makes the biggest contribution to warming, continued to rise in 2021.

We need to mitigate emissions, there is no way around it, we need to reduce emissions as fast as possible, Oksana Tarasova, the head of the WMO’s atmospheric and environment division, told reporters.

The WMO report also flagged concerns about the ability of the ocean and land to absorb roughly half of carbon dioxide emissions. These “sinks” act as a buffer and prevent the possibility of more dramatic temperature increases.

WMO data collected over ten years showed that a portion of the Amazon rainforest had switched from carbon “sink” to carbon “source” for the first time amid wildfires and deforestation.

“It’s not automatic that the strength of sinks will continue at the same rate,” said Taalas, describing the Amazon data as “alarming”.

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(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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