According to a report published today by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), greenhouses gas levels in Earth's atmosphere have reached a record high. What's more, the report indicates that the rate of that increase shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it's accelerating.
These findings may not sound too shocking in and of themselves — on the whole, I'd say most of us have become pretty inured to news surrounding the threat of rising greenhouse gas levels — but are we becoming too desensitized? According to the U.N. weather agency, current greenhouse gas concentrations exceed the worst of seven different emissions scenarios drawn up in 2001 by the UN's expert climate panel. In other words, conditions are even worse than we anticipated they would be.
According to WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud:
The atmospheric burden of greenhouse gases due to human activities has yet again reached record levels since pre-industrial time... Even if we managed to halt our greenhouse gas emissions today – and this is far from the case – they would continue to linger in the atmosphere for decades to come and so continue to affect the delicate balance of our living planet and our climate.
Now more than ever before, we need to understand the complex, and sometimes unexpected, interactions between greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, Earth's biosphere and oceans.