Levels of carbon dioxide (C02) surged at “record-breaking speed” to new highs in 2016, the United Nations weather agency announced on Monday.
Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), issued the warning in Geneva, at the launch of the organization’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
The report indicates that carbon dioxide concentrations reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400 ppm in 2015.
“We have never seen such big growth in one year as we have been seeing last year in carbon dioxide concentration,” said Mr. Taalas, telling journalists that it is time for governments to fulfil the pledges they made in Paris in 2015 to take steps to reduce global warming.
Emphasizing that the new figures reveal “we are not moving in the right direction at all,” he added that “in fact we are actually moving in the wrong direction when we think about the implementation of the Paris Agreement and this all demonstrates that there is some urgent need to raise the ambition level of climate mitigation, if we are serious with this 1.5 to 2C target of Paris Agreement.”
The report’s findings are based on observations taken around the globe by the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Programme. It found that rapidly increasing atmospheric levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases have the potential to initiate unprecedented changes in climate systems, leading to “severe ecological and economic disruptions.”