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Scientists Report Biggest Rise in CO2 Since 1984

September 9, 2014
Environmental Protection

New figures produced by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) show that atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels increased by the fastest rate in almost 30 years during 2013. The average global concentration of CO2 was measured at 396 parts per million (ppm) a rise of 3ppm on 2012.

Scientists believe the increase was not only due to the level of emissions but may also reflect a reduction in carbon uptake by the earth’s biosphere. The latter is of particular concern to WMO chief of atmospheric research Oksana Tarasova who told the BBC website; “In 2013 there are no obvious impacts on the biosphere so it is more worrying. We don’t understand if this is temporary or if it is a permanent state, and we are a bit worried about that. It could be that the biosphere is at its limit but we cannot tell that at the moment.”

Figures also show that the world’s oceans are absorbing approximately 4kg of CO2 per person leading to a level of acidification unprecedented in the last 300 million years. Two trillion tons of CO2 has been released into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution leading to levels rising by 142% since 1750. Other greenhouse gases also showed an increase over previous years with methane levels now set at 1,824 parts per billion.

The report comes ahead of the latest Climate Summit in New York on September 23rd when world leaders will be looking to start negotiations on a global agreement on emissions. 

You can view the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin here