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Vocapedia > Earth > Climate change, Global warming


Fossil fuels, Natural gas,

Greenhouse effect / gases,

Global greenhouse gas emissions




What are the main

man-made greenhouse gases?    2011


The greenhouse gases

that humans do emit directly

in significant quantities are:

• Carbon dioxide (CO2).

Accounts for around three-quarters

of the warming impact of current

human greenhouse-gas emissions.


The key source of CO2

is the burning of fossil fuels

such as coal, oil and gas,

though deforestation

is also a very significant contributor.





• Methane (CH4).

Accounts for around 14%

of the impact of current human

greenhouse-gas emissions.


Key sources include agriculture

(especially livestock and rice fields),

fossil fuel extraction

and the decay of organic waste

in landfill sites.


Methane doesn't persist

in the atmosphere

as long as CO2,

though its warming effect

is much more potent

for each gram of gas released.





• Nitrous oxide (N2O).


Accounts for around 8%

of the warming impact

of current human

greenhouse-gas emissions.


Key sources include agriculture

(especially nitrogen-fertilised soils

and livestock waste)

and industrial processes.


Nitrous oxide

is even more potent

per gram than methane.





Fluorinated gases ("F gases").


Account for around 1%

of the warming impact

of current human

greenhouse-gas emissions.


Key sources

are industrial processes.



are even more potent per gram

than nitrous oxide.










Hydrofluorocarbon Emissions    HFCs        USA

























nitrous oxide

- a super powerful greenhouse gas        USA


















natural gas > global warming, climate change        USA


Greenhouse gas emissions

hit record levels in 2019

because of the expanded use of natural gas,

which not only emits carbon dioxide

but can leak into the atmosphere from pipelines

as methane, a far more potent heat-trapping gas.















Changing Forests        2011


The world’s 9.9 billion acres of forest

absorb roughly a quarter

of human emissions of carbon dioxide,

and help limit the increase of the gas

in the atmosphere.


While many healthy forests

are robustly absorbing carbon,

others are threatened

by a warming climate.

























coal        USA










coal-fired power plants        USA










emissions > rise        UK










India > greenhouse gas emissions > coal        USA










global greenhouse gas emissions        USA










emissions that cause global warming        USA










farm emissions        USA

















greenhouse gases        UK










greenhouse gas emissions        USA














100000005012153/trump-vs-obama-on-greenhouse-gas-emissions.html - March 30, 2017





























concentration of carbon dioxide        USA


Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere

that contribute to climate change

are the highest ever recorded

— and that's going back 800,000 years.



at the National Oceanic

and Atmospheric Administration

reported that the concentration of carbon dioxide,

one of the primary greenhouse gases,

hit 412.5 parts per million in 2020.


That's 2.5 parts per million higher than in 2019,

and it's now the highest ever observed,

the scientists said.










greenhouse gases / global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide        UK










greenhouse gas emissions from UK air travel        UK










carbon dioxide        UK










carbon dioxide pollution        UK












carbon dioxide pollution        USA










carbon footprint        UK










Which industries and activities emit the most carbon?        UK        April 2011










Global carbon emissions steady for first time since 1992        UK        July 2010


Drop in rich countries' emissions

caused by recession in 2009

was nullified by steep increases

from China and India










The Guardian's quick carbon calculator        UK


Calculate the impact

of your travel, home and shopping habits

with our simple carbon footprint calculator.










World carbon emissions, by country:

new data released        UK










the world's biggest polluters / the biggest CO2 emitters        UK        March 2009










Climate change: The carbon atlas        UK        December 2008


New figures published today confirm

that China has overtaken the US

as the largest emitter of CO2.


This interactive emissions map

shows how the rest of the world



Global C02 emissions

totalled 29,195m tonnes in 2006

– up 2.4% on 2005










USA > Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2        UK / USA




















Carbon Capture Explained        NYT        23 July 2014





Carbon Capture Explained | How It Happens | The New York Times        23 July 2014


To fight against global warming,

the world needs to sharply reduce

emissions of carbon dioxide gas.


A technology called carbon capture and storage

can keep the gas out of the environment.


Produced by: Aaron Byrd and Sofia Perpetua

Watch more videos at: http://nytimes.com/video


















carbon capture / carbon-capturing tools



















air        USA






one of the world's worst air pollutants: ozone        UK






ozone layer        UK








ozone hole        UK









greenhouse effect / global greenhouse        UK






greenhouse gases / greenhouse gas emissions        UK













 regulate greenhouse gas emissions    USA






cut greenhouse gas emissions        USA








cut greenhouse gas pollution        USA
















reduce the output of greenhouse gases

into the atmosphere





greenhouse gas reductions        USA








cut emissions        UK






cut emissions        USA






cut Methane emissions        USA
















fossil fuels        UK







































fossil fuel propaganda        UK


























fossil fuels        USA








































fossil fuels plants        USA










burn oil, coal and natural gas        USA



we’ve produced electricity

by burning fossil fuels

like coal, oil and natural gas.


These substances also provide

most of the energy

used for heat

and nearly everything else

humans do.



fossil fuels are big business.


People use almost

seven billion tons of coal every year

and roughly 100 million barrels of oil

and other liquid fuels

every single day.


Fossil fuels form deep underground

from the remains

of ancient plants and animals.


When we extract them

and use them for energy,

we release prehistoric carbon into the air

as carbon dioxide and methane.


These greenhouse gases

work like a blanket:

As the sun’s energy warms the planet,

they prevent some of Earth’s heat

from escaping.


Human-caused emissions

have already made the climate hotter

than it’s been in at least a thousand years.


And we keep producing more.


When we burn fossil fuels,

we also produce pollutants

that can cause health problems.


These pollutants hurt low-income people

and communities of color the most.


They often live near pollution sources

like power plants or major highways

because of housing prices and discrimination.


In the United States,

cars and trucks are a major source

of both harmful pollutants

and greenhouse gases.


Over all,

transportation produces

more than a third of the country’s

carbon dioxide emissions.


Greenhouse gases

also come from less obvious sources.


Think about the concrete buildings

and sidewalks in your town.


The cement that holds them together

is made by crushing and heating limestone,

which requires energy

and releases carbon dioxide.


Cement, steel and other industries

account for about 20 percent

of global emissions.


What we eat matters, too.

Cows and other livestock

produce greenhouse gases

when they burp, fart and poop.


Gases also seep from crop fields.


In some places,

like the Amazon Rainforest,

people cut down trees

to clear lands for farming.


And this releases

large amounts of carbon

stored in wood and soils.



agriculture and other ways of using the land

account for about a quarter

of all greenhouse gas emissions.










fossil fuel divestment        USA


































the 'Kingsnorth Six'        UK


the environmental activists

who scaled a tower

at a coal-fired power station

in protest against pollution

in 2007





















pollute        UK










the UK's five World Heritage Sites / pollution        UK

















Second Kyoto phase        UK









Kyoto protocol > Full text










1997 United Nations pact > Kyoto climate change pact        UK









ratify the Kyoto protocol


















Hopes high for new climate pact despite US snub

· Second Kyoto phase gains backing of 150 nations

· Campaigners condemn Washington walkout

G        p. 4

Saturday December 10, 2005
















Corpus of news articles


Earth > Climate change, Global warming


Fossil fuels, Natural gas,


Greenhouse effect / gases,


Global greenhouse gas emissions




Heat-Trapping Gas

Passes Milestone,

Raising Fears


May 10, 2013

The New York Times



The level of the most important heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide, has passed a long-feared milestone, scientists reported Friday, reaching a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years.

Scientific instruments showed that the gas had reached an average daily level above 400 parts per million — just an odometer moment in one sense, but also a sobering reminder that decades of efforts to bring human-produced emissions under control are faltering.

The best available evidence suggests the amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, before humans evolved, and scientists believe the rise portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.

“It symbolizes that so far we have failed miserably in tackling this problem,” said Pieter P. Tans, who runs the monitoring program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that reported the new reading.

Ralph Keeling, who runs another monitoring program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, said a continuing rise could be catastrophic. “It means we are quickly losing the possibility of keeping the climate below what people thought were possibly tolerable thresholds,” he said.

Virtually every automobile ride, every plane trip and, in most places, every flip of a light switch adds carbon dioxide to the air, and relatively little money is being spent to find and deploy alternative technologies.

China is now the largest emitter, but Americans have been consuming fossil fuels extensively for far longer, and experts say the United States is more responsible than any other nation for the high level.

The new measurement came from analyzers atop Mauna Loa, the volcano on the big island of Hawaii that has long been ground zero for monitoring the worldwide trend on carbon dioxide, or CO2. Devices there sample clean, crisp air that has blown thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean, producing a record of rising carbon dioxide levels that has been closely tracked for half a century.

Carbon dioxide above 400 parts per million was first seen in the Arctic last year, and had also spiked above that level in hourly readings at Mauna Loa.

But the average reading for an entire day surpassed that level at Mauna Loa for the first time in the 24 hours that ended at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday. The two monitoring programs use slightly different protocols; NOAA reported an average for the period of 400.03 parts per million, while Scripps reported 400.08.

Carbon dioxide rises and falls on a seasonal cycle, and the level will dip below 400 this summer as leaf growth in the Northern Hemisphere pulls about 10 billion tons of carbon out of the air. But experts say that will be a brief reprieve — the moment is approaching when no measurement of the ambient air anywhere on earth, in any season, will produce a reading below 400.

“It feels like the inevitable march toward disaster,” said Maureen E. Raymo, a scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a unit of Columbia University.

From studying air bubbles trapped in Antarctic ice, scientists know that going back 800,000 years, the carbon dioxide level oscillated in a tight band, from about 180 parts per million in the depths of ice ages to about 280 during the warm periods between. The evidence shows that global temperatures and CO2 levels are tightly linked.

For the entire period of human civilization, roughly 8,000 years, the carbon dioxide level was relatively stable near that upper bound. But the burning of fossil fuels has caused a 41 percent increase in the heat-trapping gas since the Industrial Revolution, a mere geological instant, and scientists say the climate is beginning to react, though they expect far larger changes in the future.

Indirect measurements suggest that the last time the carbon dioxide level was this high was at least three million years ago, during an epoch called the Pliocene. Geological research shows that the climate then was far warmer than today, the world’s ice caps were smaller, and the sea level might have been as much as 60 or 80 feet higher.

Experts fear that humanity may be precipitating a return to such conditions — except this time, billions of people are in harm’s way.

“It takes a long time to melt ice, but we’re doing it,” Dr. Keeling said. “It’s scary.”

Dr. Keeling’s father, Charles David Keeling, began carbon dioxide measurements on Mauna Loa and at other locations in the late 1950s. The elder Dr. Keeling found a level in the air then of about 315 parts per million — meaning that if a person had filled a million quart jars with air, about 315 quart jars of carbon dioxide would have been mixed in.

His analysis revealed a relentless, long-term increase superimposed on the seasonal cycle, a trend that was dubbed the Keeling Curve.

Countries have adopted an official target to limit the damage from global warming, with 450 parts per million seen as the maximum level compatible with that goal. “Unless things slow down, we’ll probably get there in well under 25 years,” Ralph Keeling said.

Yet many countries, including China and the United States, have refused to adopt binding national targets. Scientists say that unless far greater efforts are made soon, the goal of limiting the warming will become impossible without severe economic disruption.

“If you start turning the Titanic long before you hit the iceberg, you can go clear without even spilling a drink of a passenger on deck,” said Richard B. Alley, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University. “If you wait until you’re really close, spilling a lot of drinks is the best you can hope for.”

Climate-change contrarians, who have little scientific credibility but are politically influential in Washington, point out that carbon dioxide represents only a tiny fraction of the air — as of Thursday’s reading, exactly 0.04 percent. “The CO2 levels in the atmosphere are rather undramatic,” a Republican congressman from California, Dana Rohrabacher, said in a Congressional hearing several years ago.

But climate scientists reject that argument, saying it is like claiming that a tiny bit of arsenic or cobra venom cannot have much effect. Research shows that even at such low levels, carbon dioxide is potent at trapping heat near the surface of the earth.

“If you’re looking to stave off climate perturbations that I don’t believe our culture is ready to adapt to, then significant reductions in CO2 emissions have to occur right away,” said Mark Pagani, a Yale geochemist who studies climates of the past. “I feel like the time to do something was yesterday.”



This article has been revised

to reflect the following correction:


Correction: May 10, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated

the amount of carbon dioxide in the air

as of Thursday’s reading from monitors.

It is .04 percent, not .0004 percent.

Heat-Trapping Gas Passes Milestone, Raising Fears,






Cement Industry Is at Center

of Climate Change Debate


October 26, 2007

The New York Times



PARIS, Oct. 23 — In booming economies from Asia to Eastern Europe, cement is literally the glue of progress. A binding agent that holds the other ingredients that together make concrete, cement is a crucial component in buildings and roads — which is why some 80 percent of it is made and used in emerging economies.

China alone makes and uses 45 percent of worldwide output. In places like Ukraine, production is doubling every four years.

But making cement means making pollution, in the form of carbon dioxide emissions. Cement plants account for 5 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming. Cement has no viable recycling potential; each new road, each new building needs new cement.

Now, green incentives may be increasing pollution. The European Union subsidizes Western companies that buy outmoded cement plants in poor countries and refit them with green technology. But the greenest technologies can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by only about 20 percent.

So when Western companies revamp Eastern factories, the emissions decrease for each ton of concrete produced. But the amount of cement produced often goes way up, as does the total pollution generated.

Many of the world’s producers acknowledge the conundrum. “The cement industry is at the center of the climate change debate — but the world needs construction material for schools, hospitals and homes,” said Olivier Luneau, head of sustainability at Lafarge, the global cement giant based in Paris. “Because of our initiatives, emissions are growing slower than they would without the interventions.”

Cement manufacturers have invested millions of dollars in green programs, like the Cement Sustainable Initiative. Lafarge, a leader in doing so, has improved efficiency by decreasing emissions to 655 pounds of carbon dioxide for each ton of cement in 2006 emissions from 763 pounds in 1990. Its goal is to get to 610 pounds for each ton by 2010, but the company said it expected it would be difficult to get much below that number. Lafarge, which bought 17 cement plants in China in 2005 and has holdings throughout Eastern Europe and Russia, acknowledges that its total emissions are growing each year.

Many engineers, like Julian Allwood, a professor at the University of Cambridge in England, see sustainable cement as something of a contradiction in terms — like vegetarian meatballs.

Cement poses a basic problem: the chemical reaction that creates it releases large amounts of carbon dioxide. Sixty percent of emissions caused by making cement are from this chemical process alone, Mr. Luneau of Lafarge said. The remainder is produced from the fuels used in production, although those emissions may be mitigated with the use of greener technology.

“Demand is growing so fast and continues to grow, and you can’t cap that,” Mr. Luneau said. “Our core business is cement, so there is a limit to what we can change.”

Carbon trading arrangements— green incentives created by the European Union and the Kyoto agreement on curbing greenhouse gases — encourage purchases in Eastern Europe and Russia by Lafarge and competitors, like HeidelbergCement. But they also allow manufacturers to increase total production, both in the developing world and at home.

The European Union effectively limits production of European cement makers in their home countries by capping their yearly emissions allowances. But there are no limits in places like Ukraine.

Moreover, European companies get increased emission allowances at home — carbon credits — by mounting green cleanup projects elsewhere. So buying an old Soviet factory and converting it to green technology can bring multiple paybacks.

“The investment is much more attractive than it used to be,” said Lennard de Klerk, director of Global Carbon, a Budapest firm that brokers such carbon investments in Ukraine, Russia and Bulgaria. Factor the value of the carbon credits into the cost of refitting a factory in Ukraine, and the predicted rate of return rises to almost 12 percent from 8.8 percent, he said.

Once the outmoded plants are refitted with clean technology, their emission for each ton of cement produced declines. The Podilsky plant in Ukraine is being refitted with greener kilns — a project financed by the Irish cement manufacturer CRH — and energy consumption for each ton of cement produced is expected to drop by 53 percent.

But even that sharp drop may not be enough to stop the inexorable growth in cement emissions over all, or compensate for the new lease on life that refitting provides old factories that otherwise might have shut their doors.

At the Doncement plant of HeidelbergCement in Ukraine, output soared 55 percent in the first nine months of 2006. Total production went up more than 10 percent in Ukraine in 2005 and again in 2006.

One industry project called the Cement Sustainability Initiative suggests that concrete should be mixed using smaller portions of cement to reduce emissions. But there is less incentive for manufacturers to make fundamental changes in how buildings and roads are made.

Mr. Allwood suggested that one solution might be to make concrete in blocks like large sugar cubes that could be stacked to make buildings and reused if they are demolished.

Western cement manufacturers emphasize that the emissions problem cannot be solved until China and India and other booming economies realize that they must limit emissions as well.

“Trying to solve emissions in the E.U. or G-8 will not solve the problem unless emerging economies and their cement production are included,” Mr. Luneau said.

Cement Industry Is at Center of Climate Change Debate,






Carbon Dioxide in Atmosphere



October 22, 2007

Filed at 10:16 p.m. ET

The New York Times



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Just days after the Nobel prize was awarded for global warming work, an alarming new study finds that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing faster than expected.

Carbon dioxide emissions were 35 percent higher in 2006 than in 1990, a much faster growth rate than anticipated, researchers led by Josep G. Canadell, of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, report in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Increased industrial use of fossil fuels coupled with a decline in the gas absorbed by the oceans and land were listed as causes of the increase.

''In addition to the growth of global population and wealth, we now know that significant contributions to the growth of atmospheric CO2 arise from the slowdown'' of nature's ability to take the chemical out of the air, said Canadell, director of the Global Carbon Project at the research organization.

The changes ''characterize a carbon cycle that is generating stronger-than-expected and sooner-than-expected climate forcing,'' the researchers report.

Kevin Trenberth of the climate analysis section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. said the ''paper raises some very important issues that the public should be aware of: Namely that concentrations of CO2 are increasing at much higher rates than previously expected and this is in spite of the Kyoto Protocol that is designed to hold them down in western countries,''

Alan Robock, associate director of the Center for Environmental Prediction at Rutgers University, added: ''What is really shocking is the reduction of the oceanic CO2 sink,'' meaning the ability of the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere.

The researchers blamed that reduction on changes in wind circulation, but Robock said he also thinks rising ocean temperatures reduce the ability to take in the gas.

''Think that a warm Coke has less fizz than a cold Coke,'' he said.

Neither Robock nor Trenberth was part of Canadell's research team.

Carbon dioxide is the leading ''greenhouse gas,'' so named because their accumulation in the atmosphere can help trap heat from the sun, causing potentially dangerous warming of the planet.

While most atmospheric scientists accept the idea, finding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been a political problem because of potential effects on the economy. Earlier this month, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former Vice President Al Gore for their work in calling attention to global warming.

''It turns out that global warming critics were right when they said that global climate models did not do a good job at predicting climate change,'' Robock commented. ''But what has been wrong recently is that the climate is changing even faster than the models said. In fact, Arctic sea ice is melting much faster than any models predicted, and sea level is rising much faster than IPCC previously predicted.''

According to the new study, carbon released from burning fossil fuel and making cement rose from 7.0 billion metric tons per year in 2000 to 8.4 billion metric tons in 2006. A metric tons is 2,205 pounds.

The growth rate increased from 1.3 percent per year in 1990-1999 to 3.3 percent per year in 2000-2006, the researchers added.

Trenberth noted that carbon dioxide is not the whole story -- methane emissions have declined, so total greenhouse gases are not increasing as much as carbon dioxide alone. Also, he added, other pollution plays a role by cooling.

There are changes from year to year in the fraction of the atmosphere made up of carbon dioxide and the question is whether this increase is transient or will be sustained, he said.

''The theory suggests increases in (the atmospheric fraction), as is claimed here, but the evidence is not strong,'' Trenberth said.

The paper looks at a rather short time to measure a trend, Robock added, ''but the results they get certainly look reasonable, and much of the paper is looking at much longer trends.''

The research was supported by Australian, European and other international agencies.


On the Net:
PNAS: http://www.pnas.org

Carbon Dioxide in Atmosphere Increasing,
NYT, 22.10.2007,
aponline/us/AP-Carbon-Increase.html - broken link






China overtakes US

as world's biggest CO2 emitter


Tuesday June 19, 2007

Guardian Unlimited

John Vidal and David Adam


China has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest producer of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, figures released today show.

The surprising announcement will increase anxiety about China's growing role in driving man-made global warming and will pile pressure onto world politicians to agree a new global agreement on climate change that includes the booming Chinese economy. China's emissions had not been expected to overtake those from the US, formerly the world's biggest polluter, for several years, although some reports predicted it could happen as early as next year.

But according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, soaring demand for coal to generate electricity and a surge in cement production have helped to push China's recorded emissions for 2006 beyond those from the US already. It says China produced 6,200m tonnes of CO2 last year, compared with 5,800m tonnes from the US. Britain produced about 600m tonnes.

Jos Olivier, a senior scientist at the government agency who compiled the figures, said: "There will still be some uncertainty about the exact numbers, but this is the best and most up to date estimate available. China relies very heavily on coal and all of the recent trends show their emissions going up very quickly." China's emissions were 2% below those of the US in 2005. Per head of population, China's pollution remains relatively low - about a quarter of that in the US and half that of the UK.

The new figures only include carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production. They do not include sources of other greenhouse gases, such as methane from agriculture and nitrous oxide from industrial processes. And they exclude other sources of carbon dioxide, such as from the aviation and shipping industries, as well as from deforestation, gas flaring and underground coal fires.

Dr Olivier said it was hard to find up to date and reliable estimates for such emissions, particularly from countries in the developing world. But he said including them would be unlikely to topple China from top spot. "Since China passed the US by 8% [in 2006] it will be pretty hard to compensate for that with other sources of emissions."

To work out the emissions figures, Dr Oliver used data issued by the oil company BP earlier this month on the consumption of oil, gas and coal across the world during 2006, as well as information on cement production published by the US Geological Survey. Cement production, which requires huge amounts of energy, accounts for about 4% of global CO2 production from fuel use and industrial sources. China's cement industry, which has rapidly expanded in recent years and now produces about 44% of world supply, contributes almost 9% of the country's CO2 emissions. Dr Olivier calculated carbon dioxide emissions from each country's use of oil, gas and coal using UN conversion factors. China's surge beyond the US was helped by a 1.4% fall in the latter's CO2 emissions during 2006, which analysts say is down to a slowing US economy.

The announcement comes as international negotiations to produce a new climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto protocol when it expires in 2012 are delicately poised. The US refused to ratify Kyoto partly because it made no demands on China, and one major sticking point of the new negotiations has been finding a way to include both nations, as well as other rapidly developing economies such as India and Brazil. Tony Blair believes the best approach is to develop national markets to cap and trade carbon, which could then be linked.

Earlier this month, China unveiled its first national plan on climate change after two years of preparation by 17 government ministries. Rather than setting a direct target for the reduction or avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions, it now aims to reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 20% by 2010 and to increase the share of renewable energy to some 10%, as well as to cover roughly 20% of the nation's land with forest.

But it stressed that technology and costs are major barriers to achieving energy efficiency in China, and that it will be hard to alter the nation's dependency on coal in the short term. What China needs, said a government spokesman, is international cooperation in helping China move toward a low-carbon economy. Chinese industries have been hesitant to embrace unproven clean coal and carbon capture technologies that are still in their infancy in developed countries.

China overtakes US as world's biggest CO2 emitter,






Greenhouse gases

hit record levels in 2005: U.N.


Fri Nov 3, 2006

12:52 PM ET



GENEVA (Reuters) - Levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a record last year and are likely to keep rising unless emissions are radically cut, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a report on Friday.

The U.N. weather agency found that the so-called "mixing ratios" of carbon dioxide reached an all-time high of 379.1 parts per billion in 2005, and the global average for nitrous oxide hit a record 319.2 parts per billion.

"It looks like this will continue like this for the foreseeable future," Geir Braathen, senior scientific officer at the Geneva-based organization, said of the rise, which extended the steady upward trend seen in recent decades.

"At least for the next few years, we do not expect any deceleration in the concentration," he said.

Scientists say the accumulation of such gases -- generated by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas -- traps the sun's rays and causes the temperature of the Earth to rise, leading to a melting of polar ice caps and glaciers, a spike in extreme weather, storms and floods, and other environmental shifts that are expected to worsen in coming years.

Speaking ahead of a major U.N. meeting on climate change next week in Nairobi, Braathen said the Kyoto Protocol on emissions-cutting was not strong enough in its current form to stabilize or cut the build-up of greenhouse gases.

"To really make C02 (carbon dioxide) concentrations level off, we will need more drastic measures than are in the Kyoto Protocol today," he said. The pact took effect last year and calls for the greenhouse gases emitted by developed countries to be cut to at least 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

A detailed study of the economics of global warming, issued in London on Monday, said that if determined global action to tackle climate change were taken now, the benefits would far outweigh the economic and human costs.

Failure to act swiftly could result in world temperatures rising by 5 degrees Celsius (9 Fahrenheit) over the next century, causing severe floods and droughts and uprooting some 200 million people, the Stern report said.

Greenhouse gases hit record levels in 2005: U.N.,










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climate change / crisis,

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global warming,

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