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Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas Concentrations Again Break Records

These reports will help delegates from almost 200 countries when they meet in Madrid next week for COP25, the annual round of international climate talks

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greenhouse emissions
Currently, the planet is moving toward the high estimates of greenhouse gas concentrations. Pixabay

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases once again reached new highs in 2018, a media report said on Monday.

Though the increase in CO2 was just above the average rise in the last decade, the levels of other warming gases like methane and nitrous oxide had surged by above average amounts, a BBC report quoted the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) as saying.

It said that since 1990, there was an increase of 43 per cent in the warming effect on the climate of longlived greenhouse gases.

The WMO report looks at the concentrations of warming gases in the atmosphere rather than just emissions.

Emissions refer to the amount of gases that go up into the atmosphere due to the use of fossil fuels, such as burning coal for electricity and from deforestation whereas concentrations are what’s left in the air after a complex series of interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, forests and land.

About 25 per cent of all carbon emissions are absorbed by the seas, and a similar amount by land and trees.

With the use of data from monitoring stations in the Arctic and across the world, researchers said that in 2018, CO2 concentrations reached 407.8 parts per million (ppm), compared with 405.5 ppm a year earlier.

This increase has been above average for the last 10 years and 147 per cent of the “pre-industrial” level in 1750.

climate change catastrophe
Greenhouse gases have continued to climb, and “climate change is occurring much faster than anticipated,” the report said. Pixabay

The WMO also records the concentrations of other warming gases, including methane and nitrous oxide. About 40 per cent of the methane released into the air comes from natural sources and 60 per cent from human activities like cattle farming, rice cultivation and landfill dumps.

Methane is now at 259 per cent of the pre-industrial level. The increase over the past year was higher than both the previous annual rate and the average over the past 10 years.

“There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris agreement on climate change,” the report quoted WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas as saying.

“We need to translate the commitments into action and increase the level of ambition for the sake of the future welfare of mankind,” he added.

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He said the last time our planet experienced comparable concentration of CO2 was three to five million years ago when the temperature was 2-3 degree Celsius warmer and sea level 10-20 metres higher than now.

Preliminary findings from this study, published during the UN Secretary General’s special climate summit last September, indicated that emissions continued to rise during 2018.

These reports will help delegates from almost 200 countries when they meet in Madrid next week for COP25, the annual round of international climate talks. (IANS)

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Escalating Consequences of Climate Change Hit Countries Globally

India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally

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Climate
As Climate impacts begin to result in permanent loss and damage across the world, there is still no specific UN climate finance facility to reimburse the loss of land, culture and human lives. Pixabay

The escalating consequences of Climate change are now hitting both rich and poor countries, a report published on Wednesday said. India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally.

The Climate Risk Index 2020, an annual report by Germanwatch, ranks countries according to their vulnerability to extreme weather events.

It was released in the Spanish capital on the sidelines of the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP25 that is being held in the backdrop of climate impact biting globally.

According to the report, India has also been badly affected, ranking fifth in the overall global vulnerability index in 2018, ranked first in terms of fatalities and second in the world in terms of losses in millions of dollars.

India’s overall ranking has drastically fallen from 14th in 2017, to fifth in 2018.

The report shows that extreme weather, linked with climate change, is affecting not only the poorer countries like Myanmar and Haiti, but also some of the world’s richest countries.

Japan is the worst-hit country in 2018, while Germany and Canada were both also in the ‘bottom 10’ i.e. the most affected.

The results reflect the increasing damage caused by heatwaves, which scientists have found are being worsened by climate change.

To explain this drastic fall in ranking in a year, David Eckstein, Policy Advisor (Climate Finance and Investment) with Germanwatch said: “India’s high rank is due to severe rainfall, followed by heavy flooding and landslides that killed over 1,000 people.”

The state of Kerala was especially impacted. The floods were described as the worst in the last 100 years.

Climate
A report shows that extreme weather, linked with climate change, is affecting not only the poorer countries like Myanmar and Haiti, but also some of the world’s richest countries. Pixabay

According to Eckstein, India was struck by two cyclones in October and November 2018 that also nearly killed 1,000 people. Last but not least, India also suffered from extreme heat. While the human death toll was kept considerably low due to public measures, the economic damage was quite severe.

Other countries ranking in the bottom 20 in the overall climate risk categories are the US at 12th, Vietnam at sixth, Bangladesh at seventh and France at 15th.

The report also points to the importance of negotiations at COP25. As climate impacts begin to result in permanent loss and damage across the world, there is still no specific UN climate finance facility to reimburse the loss of land, culture and human lives.

So far, the industrialised countries have refused to even negotiate it.

But at COP25, for the first time, financial support for climate-related loss and damage is high on the agenda.

For the poorest and most vulnerable countries, this climate summit is, therefore, of the utmost importance. They demand that states agree a deal to support those who are suffering, or at least acknowledge the necessity, with a pathway towards real help.

Otherwise the poorest countries will continue to rely on loans to cope with the consequences of climate change, which means they are threatened with excessive debts, undermining often already vulnerable economies.

In the talks that will last till December 13, India has been ambitious in its actions.

Climate
The escalating consequences of Climate change are now hitting both rich and poor countries, a report published on Wednesday said. India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally. Pixabay

It has emphasised that developed countries should take the lead in undertaking ambitious actions and fulfil their climate finance commitments of mobilising $100 billion per annum by 2020 and progressively and substantially scale up their financial support to inform parties for future action through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

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India is also stressing upon the need for fulfilling the pre-2020 commitments by developed countries, and that pre-2020 implementation gaps should not present an additional burden to developing countries in the post-2020 period.

The Indian delegation will be led by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is attending the summit from December 9. (IANS)