WMO Presser: Greenhouse Gas Emissions
/
2:44
/
MP4
/
201.7 MB

Edited News | UNOG , WMO

WMO Presser: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Another year of record emissions, warns UN meteorological agency head

Levels of the three main heat-trapping gases emitted into the atmosphere – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) – have reached yet another high, the UN meteorological agency, WMO, said on Monday.

In an appeal to Governments to do more to reverse countries’ reliance on producing energy from fossil fuels, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), warned that “the future welfare of mankind” was at stake.

“We have again broken records in carbon dioxide concentrations and we have already exceeded 400ppm level which was regarded as a critical level,” he said, in reference to the 407.8 parts per million reading for 2018. “That happened already two years ago and this carbon dioxide concentration continues and continues and last year’s increase was about the same as we have been observing in the past 10 years, as an average.”

According to the World Meteorological Organization’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, since 1990, so-called “long-lived” greenhouse gases have caused a 43 per cent increase in total radiative forcing - the warming effect on the climate.

Of these gases, CO2 accounts for about 80 per cent, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, whose data is quoted in the WMO Bulletin.

CO2 is particularly harmful in a global warming context because it remains in the atmosphere for centuries and in the oceans for even longer, the agency explained.

Professor Taalas noted too that when the Earth last had similar concentrations of the CO2, the temperature “was 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer (and) sea level was 10-20 metres higher than now”.

Turning to methane, which is responsible for 17 per cent of radiative forcing, Professor Taalas noted that “we have also been breaking records”, since last year’s increase “was the second-highest in the last 10 years”.

According to the WMO bulletin, global readings indicate that atmospheric methane (CH4) reached a new high of 1,869 parts per billion (ppb) in 2018, more than two and a half times the pre-industrial level.

Approximately 40 per cent of methane comes from natural sources, such as wetlands and termites, but 60 per cent comes from human activities, including cattle breeding, paddyfields, mines, landfills and biomass burning.

“For CH4, the increase from 2017 to 2018 was higher than both that observed from 2016 to 2017 and the average over the last decade,” the bulletin noted.

This upwards trend in emissions was repeated in the case of nitrous oxide (N2O), with concentrations in 2018 estimated at 331.1 parts per billion, or 123 per cent above pre-industrial levels.

“Nitrous oxide has contributed about six per cent of the warming so far,” said Professor Taalas. “It’s very much coming from farmlands and again there we have been breaking records, the steady growth of N2O concentration still continues.”

Based on current data, global emissions are not estimated to peak by 2030, let alone by 2020, if existing climate policies - as set out in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) - remain unchanged, WMO believes.

Addressing this will involve promoting non-fossil-based energy sources, since “we produce 85 per cent of the global energy based on fossil ones – coal, oil and gas,” Professor Taalas said, “and only 15 per cent based on nuclear, hydro and renewables. And to be successful in implementation of the Paris Agreement we should revert those numbers in the coming decades.”

Highlighting the need for the global community to tackle emissions, the WMO head explained that the biggest polluters “used to be Europe and North America, USA, but China has become number one emitter – along with “fairly strong growth in the emissions of non-OECD countries” too.

This demonstrates that “you have to have global thoughts” if you want to solve this problem, Professor Taalas said. “The European Union nor USA cannot solve it alone, nor China; you have to have all of the countries involved.”

While Governments understand that this is a challenge, so too does the private sector, he added, noting that it was “more and more interested in finding solutions”.

  1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations flag alley, people t aking photos, car passes behind them.
  2. Medium shot, journalists, podium with speakers, Press Room III, Palais des Nations.
  3. Medium shot, TV cameras, tripods, journalists.
  4. SOUNDBITE (English) — Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General:“We have again broken records in carbon dioxide concentrations and we have already exceeded 400ppm level which was regarded as a critical level, that happened already two years ago and this carbon dioxide concentration continues and continues and last year’s increase was about the same as we have been observing in the past 10 years as an average.”
    1. Close-up, journalist leafing through WMO report, Press Room III, Palais des Nations.
    2. SOUNDBITE (English) — Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General:“In the case of methane we have also been breaking records and… the increase last year was the second-highest in the last 10 years.”
    1. Medium shot, journalist, podium speakers, Press Room III, Palais des Nations.
    2. SOUNDBITE (English) — Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General:“Nitrous oxide has contributed about six per cent of the warming so far; it’s very much coming from farmlands and again there we have been breaking records, the steady growth of N2O concentration still continues.”
    1. Medium shot, journalist, podium, Press Room III, Palais des Nations.
    2. SOUNDBITE (English) — Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General:“At the moment we produce 85 per cent of the global energy based on fossil ones – coal, oil and gas which are shown here - and only 15 per cent based on nuclear, hydro and renewables. And to be successful in implementation of the Paris Agreement we should revert those numbers  in the coming decades.”
    3. Close-up, journalist’s head in foreground, projector screen to rear that displays title: ‘Greenhouse gases & climate change’, Press Room III, Palais des Nations.
    4. SOUNDBITE (English) — Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General:“Classically it used to be Europe and North America, USA, but China has become number one emitter. But there has also been fairly strong growth in the emissions of non-OECD countries and this is demonstrating that if you want to solve this problem, you have to have global, global thoughts. The European Union nor USA cannot solve it alone, nor China; you have to have all of the countries involved.”
    1. Close-up, journalist wearing listening piece, looking down at laptop, Press Room III, Palais des Nations.
    2. SOUNDBITE (English) — Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General:“Governments nowadays understand that this is a challenge, and what is good news is that the visibility of these issues is highest ever. And the good news is also that the private sector is more and more interested in finding solutions.”
    1. Medium shot, journalist in foreground, TV cameras to rear, Press Room III, Palais des Nations.
    2. Medium shot, podium, Press Room III, Palais des Nations.
    3. Medium shot, journalist, podium, Press Room III, Palais des Nations.

Similar Stories

UN Human Rights High Commissioner Volker Türk Interactive Dialogue at 56th Human Rights Council

1

1

1

Edited News | OHCHR

UN Human Rights High Commissioner Volker Türk Interactive Dialogue at 56th Human Rights Council ENG FRA

The UN Human Rights Council held an interactive dialogue on Thursday with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk following his global update to the Council on Tuesday.

Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al Nashif on Nicaragua

1

1

1

Edited News | OHCHR

Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al Nashif on Nicaragua ENG FRA

The human rights situation in Nicaragua remains gravely concerning, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al-Nashif said on Thursday in a statement to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Independent rights probe highlights Israeli army’s ‘dislocation and destruction’ tactics in Gaza

2

1

2

Press Conferences , Edited News | HRC

Independent rights probe highlights Israeli army’s ‘dislocation and destruction’ tactics in Gaza ENG FRA

High-level independent human rights investigators reiterated serious concerns on Wednesday about the legality of the Israeli army's conduct in Gaza and pushed back at claims that their inquiry has done too little to highlight the ongoing ordeal of hostages captured by Palestinian militants.

UN Human Rights Briefing on IHL report

1

1

1

Edited News | OHCHR , UNOG

UN Human Rights Briefing on IHL report ENG FRA

The UN Human Rights Office published an assessment today on six emblematic attacks by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza last year.

UN Human Rights HC Volker Türk delivered an Oral update on Myanmar to the 56th Human Rights Council

1

1

1

Edited News | UNOG , OHCHR

UN Human Rights HC Volker Türk delivered an Oral update on Myanmar to the 56th Human Rights Council ENG FRA

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on Tuesday made a strong plea for an end to the violence in Myanmar, highlighting that brutal atrocity crimes are being committed.

UN Human Rights Volker Türk Global Update speech to  the 56th Human Rights Council

1

1

1

Edited News | OHCHR , UNOG

UN Human Rights Volker Türk Global Update speech to the 56th Human Rights Council ENG FRA

Intensifying conflicts around the world are exacting a heavy cost on people and the planet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said on Tuesday.

UN Human Rights Briefing by Liz Throssell on Ethiopia report

1

1

1

Edited News | UNOG , OHCHR

UN Human Rights Briefing by Liz Throssell on Ethiopia report ENG FRA

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on Friday called for concrete measures to halt the human rights violations and abuses that continue to endanger reconciliation and peace in Ethiopia.

UN Human Rights Briefing by Liz Throssell on FGM report

1

1

1

Edited News | UNOG , OHCHR

UN Human Rights Briefing by Liz Throssell on FGM report ENG FRA

The UN Human Rights Office on Friday called for concerted global action to tackle female genital mutilation (FGM), highlighting that the worldwide fight against FGM is being undermined by having girls cross national borders and beyond to undergo the procedure.

Ukraine war intensification - Denise Brown 14 June 2024

1

1

1

Edited News | UNITED NATIONS

Ukraine war intensification - Denise Brown 14 June 2024 ENG FRA

War in Ukraine should not be “new normal”: children study in the subway tunnels of Kharkiv, UN official says  A surge of attacks by Russian forces on the Kharkiv area of Ukraine is causing significant civilian casualties, as well as the destruction of homes and of crucial infrastructure, the top UN official in Ukraine said today, in a plea to not “normalize” the dire conditions for Ukrainian civilians.

UNCTAD 60 opening and António Guterres stakeout 12 June 2024

1

1

1

Edited News , Press Conferences | UNOG , UNITED NATIONS , UNCTAD

UNCTAD 60 opening and António Guterres stakeout 12 June 2024 ENG FRA

Guterres highlights ‘unique level of destruction’ in Gaza and deep commitment to UNRWA's humanitarian aid ahead of G7 meet UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated his solidarity with the people of Gaza and the global body’s deep commitment to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, on Wednesday, while also issuing a stark message to the world’s richest nations ahead of the G7 Summit in Italy to do more to help emerging economies crippled by debt repayments.

UN Human Rights Spokesperson Jeremy Laurence on Israeli raid in Gaza to free hostages

1

1

1

Edited News | UNOG , OHCHR

UN Human Rights Spokesperson Jeremy Laurence on Israeli raid in Gaza to free hostages ENG FRA

UN Human Rights Spokesperson Jeremy Laurence made the following comment on the recent Israeli raid in Gaza to free hostages and Monday’s Security Council Resolution calling for a “full and complete ceasefire”.