We may have a climate denier in the White House, who is keen on pushing fake news and alternative facts, but as head of UN Environment, Eric Solheim, said earlier today “The numbers don’t lie.”
And lie they do not. The numbers are telling us that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere “surged” at an unprecedented rate last year to reach record levels.
We are truly entering unchartered waters. “The abrupt changes in the atmosphere witnessed in the past 70 years are without precedent”, warns the UN in a new report on greenhouse gases.
Rapidly increasing atmospheric levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases have the potential to initiate unprecedented changes in our climate system, leading to “severe ecological and economic disruptions,” said the World Meteorological Organization’s Annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin:
It continued: “Globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015 because of a combination of human activities and a strong El Niño event. Concentrations of CO2 are now 145% of pre-industrial (before 1750) levels”.
Indeed, the UN notes the “last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now.”
Solheim pleaded that: “What we need now is global political will and a new sense of urgency.”
However, it is difficult to see any real sense of urgency coming anytime soon from the White House, or any leading figure from the Trump Administration.
He was not alone in sounding the alarm: “Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, we will be heading for dangerous temperature increases by the end of this century, well above the target set by the Paris climate change agreement,” said WMO Secretary-General, Petteri Taalas. “Future generations will inherit a much more inhospitable planet, “ he added.
The new report has also raised concern among scientists and prompted calls for far more drastic action at the upcoming UN climate negotiations in Bonn, which will be held from 7-17 November.
US officials will however attend meeting in Bonn, but with a climate denier for a boss, it is unlikely they will have much positive input.
Indeed, the Guardian reported today there is more bad news to be published tomorrow when UN Environment “will show the gap between international goals and domestic commitments leaves the world on course for warming well beyond the 2C target and probably beyond 3C.”
Professor Dave Reay, from the University of Edinburgh, said: “This should set alarm bells ringing in the corridors of power. We know that, as climate change intensifies, the ability of the land and oceans to mop up our carbon emissions will weaken.”
Meanwhile one of those people walking the corridors of power is Trump’s newly appointed ambassador to Canada, who believes in “both sides” of the debate surrounding climate change, and who started in her post last week.
US ambassador, Kelly Craft, is married to Kentucky coal baron Joe Craft, another climate denier. Craft believes the Trump Administration “has been on top” of global environmental concerns. She is the only person on this rapidly warming planet of ours who thinks as much.
Because the numbers don’t lie.