clear
Sunday May 29th, 2016 7:38AM

UN: CO2 pollution levels at annual record high

By The Associated Press
GENEVA (AP) -- World carbon dioxide pollution levels in the atmosphere are accelerating and reached a record high in 2012, the U.N. weather agency said Wednesday.

The heat-trapping gas, pumped into the air by cars and smokestacks, was measured at 393.1 parts per million last year, up 2.2 ppm from the previous year, said the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization in its annual greenhouse gas inventory.

That is far beyond the 350 ppm that some scientists and environmental groups promote as the absolute upper limit for a safe level.

As the chief gas blamed for global warming, carbon dioxide's 2012 increase outpaced the past decade's average annual increase of 2.02 ppm.

Based on that rate, the organization says the world's carbon dioxide pollution level is expected to cross the 400 ppm threshold by 2016. That level already was reached at some individual measurement stations in 2012 and 2013.

Scientists say the Earth probably last had this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at least a few million years ago, when sea levels were higher. Carbon dioxide levels were around 280 ppm before the Industrial Revolution.

Trapping heat as a greenhouse would, carbon dioxide accounts for three-quarters of the planet's heat-trapping gases that scientists say are causing sea levels to rise, glaciers to melt and some weather patterns to change. Methane, another destructive greenhouse gas, traps heat much more effectively but has a shorter life span.

Atmospheric methane also reached a new high of 1,819 parts per billion in 2012, which is 260 percent higher than the pre-industrial level. Methane comes from natural sources such as wetlands and termites, but about 60 percent comes from cattle breeding, rice growing, landfills and other human activities.

The rising amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere shows how people have "upset the natural balance of our atmosphere and are a major contribution to climate change," said Michel Jarraud, the secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization.

Carbon dioxide remains in the air for a century, some of it far longer, which means that a lot of future warming is already locked in.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is headquartered at the organization, says starvation, poverty, flooding, heat waves, droughts, war and disease are likely to worsen as the world warms from man-made climate change.

The warming of the planet since 1950 is "unprecedented," the panel says, and the Earth will warm by at least 2 more degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) this century, unless the world drastically cuts emissions, which appears unlikely.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 2 years ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 2 years ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 2 years ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 2 years ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 2 years ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 2 years ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 2 years ago )
NSA reportedly intercepts computer deliveries
A German magazine has lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacker unit, revealing how American spies intercepted computer deliveries, exploited hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijacked Microsoft's bug report system to spy on their targets.
12:31PM ( 2 years ago )
Rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel
Rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Sunday, causing no injuries but sparking an Israeli reprisal shelling in a rare flare-up between the two countries.
12:26PM ( 2 years ago )
Politics
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 1 week ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 2 weeks ago )