The average concentration of CO2 within the atmosphere hit 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in 2015 and has continued to push higher in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
The WMO has published its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The news release that followed stated that while CO2 levels “previously reached the 400ppm barrier for certain months of the year and in and in certain locations” that never happened “on a global average basis for the entire year.” The “growth spurt” in CO2 was fueled by the global weather phenomenon El Niño, which started in 2015 and continued to impact “well into 2016”, said the WMO.
Tropical areas had endured droughts due to El Niño. The WMO reiterated that from 1990 and 2015, the “warming effect on our climate” had increased by 37 percent. “The year 2015 ushered in a new era of optimism and climate action with the Paris climate change agreement,” Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the WMO, stated. “But it will also make history as marking a new era of climate change reality with record high greenhouse gas concentrations,” Taalas added. “The El Niño event has disappeared. Climate change has not.”
The Paris Agreement December 2015 was where global leaders agreed to keep global warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and to “pursue efforts” to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. “Without tackling CO2 emissions, we cannot tackle climate change and keep temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era,” Taalas said.