Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Hit New Record in 2011, Survey Shows
Source: The Huffington Post
GENEVA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Atmospheric volumes of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change hit a new record in 2011, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin on Tuesday.
The volume of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas emitted by human activities, grew at a similar rate to the previous decade and reached 390.9 parts per million (ppm), 40 percent above the pre-industrial level, the survey said.Fossil fuels are the primary source of about 375 billion tonnes of carbon that has been released into the atmosphere since the industrial era began in 1750, the WMO said.WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said the billions of tonnes of extra carbon dioxide would stay in the atmosphere for centuries, causing the planet to warm further.
Levels of methane, another long-lived greenhouse gas, have risen steadily for the past three years after levelling off for about seven years. The reasons for that evening out are unclear.Growth in volumes of a third gas, nitrous oxide, quickened in 2011. It has a long-term climate impact that is 298 times greater than carbon dioxide.The WMO, the United Nations' weather agency, said the three gases, which are closely linked to human activities such as fossil fuel use, deforestation and intensive agriculture, had increased the warming effect on the climate by 30 percent between 1990 and 2011.