WMO: Greenhouse gas concentrations in atmosphere reach new recordListen /
The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2012, continuing an upward and accelerating trend which is driving climate change, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
In its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin WMO says between 1990 and 2012 there was a 32 per cent increase in the warming effect of global climate due to emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.
WMO Secretary General Michel Jarraud says the consequence of rising levels of greenhouse gasses, global climate is changing, weather is more extreme, ice sheets and glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising.
He says limiting climate change will require large and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
"Because of what we measure, time is really not on our side. CO2 is a very stable gas which means there is no sort of chemical reactions which would destroy naturally the CO2 from the atmosphere, so it stays for very long periods, hundreds of years or even more. And that why as a consequence, the actions we take now or the actions we don't take now will have consequences for very long period."
Carbon dioxide is the single most important greenhouse gas emitted by human activities such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation.
WMO says most aspects of climate change will persist for centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped immediately.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.