Sunday, November 05, 2006

Greenhouse gases: No limit in sight

The WMO (World Meteorological Organization) has announced that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide rose about half a percent in 2005 and that the levels were likely to continue rising unless emissions of CO2, methane and nitrogen oxides are slashed.

The Kyoto Protocol has set limits for emission of certain greenhouse gasses for richer countries of the world. The U.S. and Australia have rejected the compulsory cap and China, which signed the protocol, is not required to reduce emissions because it is a developing nation despite its booming industrial growth.

This from the BBC:

"There is no sign that N2O (nitrous oxide) and CO2 are starting to level off," Geir Braathen, a senior scientist at the WMO, told reporters.

"It looks like it will just continue like this for the foreseeable future."

Scientists say the accumulation of such gases - generated by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas - traps energy coming originally from the Sun, causing global temperatures to rise.

This is expected to lead to melting of polar ice caps and glaciers, rising sea levels and more extreme weather events such as storms and floods.

The WMO said concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) were measured at 379.1 parts per million (ppm), up 0.53% from 377.1 ppm in 2004.

Concentrations of nitrous oxide (N2O) reached 319.2 ppm in 2005, an annual increase of 0.2%.

Levels of methane, another greenhouse gas, remained stable, it said.

The trend of growing emissions from industry, transport and power generation is set to continue despite international agreements on regulating them, the UN agency warned.

"To really make CO2 level off we will need more drastic measures than are in the Kyoto Protocol today," Geir Braathen explained.

"Every human being on this globe should think about how much CO2 he or she emits and try to do something about that."

No comments: