UN / GREENHOUSE GAS BULLETIN

26-Oct-2022 00:01:06
Atmospheric levels of the three main greenhouse gases warming our planet - carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide- all reached new record highs in 2021, according to a new report from the UN’s World Meteorological Organization. UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / GREENHOUSE GAS BULLETIN
TRT: 1:06
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 26 OCTOBER 2022, NEW YORK CITY / RECENT
SHOTLIST
RECENT – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior, United Nations

26 OCTOBER 2022, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, press briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization (WMO):
“And here we are talking about things that are happening in real atmosphere. We have a network of 150 stations worldwide where we measure concentrations of main greenhouse gases. It’s carbon dioxide, it’s methane, and nitrous oxide, which are the three most important ones, the important gases.”
4. Med shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization (WMO):
“And all of those three gases, we have again broken new records. So, we haven't seen any improvement in a real atmosphere so far.”
6. Wide shot, press briefing room
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization (WMO):
“It is important to get the whole G20 family on board because that group is responsible for 80 percent of global emissions.”
8. Wide shot, press briefing room
STORYLINE
Atmospheric levels of the three main greenhouse gases warming our planet - carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide- all reached new record highs in 2021, according to a new report from the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Addressing journalists in New York today (26 Oct), on the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, WMO’s Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said “we have again broken new records. So, we haven't seen any improvement in a real atmosphere so far.”

WMO’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reported the biggest year-on-year jump in methane concentrations in 2021 since systematic measurements began nearly 40 years ago.

The reason for this exceptional increase is not clear but seems to be a result of both biological and human-induced processes.

The increase in carbon dioxide levels from 2020 to 2021 was larger than the average annual growth rate over the last decade. Measurements from WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch network stations show that these levels continues to rise in 2022 over the whole globe.

Between 1990 and 2021, the warming effect on our climate (known as radiative forcing) by long-lived greenhouse gases rose by nearly 50 percent, with carbon dioxide accounting for about 80 percent of this increase.

Carbon dioxide concentrations in 2021 were 415.7 parts per million (ppm), methane at 1908 parts per billion (ppb), and nitrous oxide at 334.5 ppb.

These values constitute, respectively, 149 percent, 262 percent, and 124 percent of pre-industrial levels before human activities started disrupting the natural equilibrium of these gases in the atmosphere.,

WMO UN Climate Change conference, COP27, in Egypt from 7-18 November.

On the eve of the conference in Sharm-el-Sheikh, it will present its provisional State of the Global Climate 2022 report, which will show how greenhouse gases continue to drive climate change and extreme weather.

Asked about the COP27, Taalas said, “It is important to get the whole G20 family on board because that group is responsible for 80 percent of global emissions.”

The years from 2015 to 2021 were the seven warmest on record.

The WMO reports seek to galvanize COP27 negotiators into more ambitious action decision-makers to achieve the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

The average global temperature is now more than 1.1°C above the 1850–1900 pre-industrial average.

Given the need to strengthen the greenhouse gas information basis for decisions on climate mitigation efforts, WMO is working with the broader greenhouse gas community to develop a framework for sustained, internationally coordinated global greenhouse gas monitoring, including observing network design and international exchange and use of the resulting observations.

It will engage with the broader scientific and international community, particularly regarding land surface and ocean observation and modeling.

WMO measures atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases – what remains in the atmosphere after gases are absorbed by sinks like the ocean and biosphere. This is not the same as emissions.

A separate and complementary Emissions Gap Report by UN Environment will be released on 27 October.

The Emissions Gap report assesses the latest scientific studies on current and estimated future greenhouse gas emissions.

This difference between “where we are likely to be and where we need to be” is known as the emissions gap.

As long as emissions continue, global temperature will continue to rise.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide reached 149 percent of the pre-industrial level in 2021, primarily because of emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels and cement production. Global emissions have rebounded since the COVID-related lockdowns in 2020.

Of the total emissions from human activities during the 2011–2020 period, about 48 percent accumulated in the atmosphere, 26 percent in the ocean, and 29 percent on land.

There is concern that the ability of land ecosystems and oceans to act as “sinks” may become less effective in the future, thus reducing their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and act as a buffer against larger temperature increase.

In some parts of the world, the transition of land sink into CO2 source is already happening.

Given the long life of CO2, the temperature level already observed will persist for decades even if emissions are rapidly reduced to net zero.

Atmospheric methane is the second largest contributor to climate change and consists of a diverse mix of overlapping sources and sinks, so it is difficult to quantify emissions by source type.

Since 2007, globally-averaged atmospheric methane concentration has been increasing at an accelerating rate. The annual increases in 2020 and 2021 (15 and 18 ppb, respectively) are the largest since the systematic record began in 1983.

The global greenhouse gas science community is still investigating causes.

Analysis indicates that the largest contribution to the renewed increase in methane since 2007 comes from biogenic sources, such as wetlands or rice paddies.

It is not yet possible to say if the extreme increases in 2020 and 2021 represent climate feedback – if it gets warmer, the organic material decomposes faster.

If it decomposes in the water (without oxygen), this leads to methane emissions. Thus, more emissions are possible if tropical wetlands become wetter and warmer.

The dramatic increase might also be because of natural interannual variability. The years 2020 and 2021 saw La Niña events associated with increased precipitation in the tropics.

Nitrous oxide is the third most important greenhouse gas. It is emitted into the atmosphere from both natural sources (approximately 57 percent) and anthropogenic sources (about 43 percent), including oceans, soils, biomass burning, fertilizer use, and various industrial processes.

The increase from 2020 to 2021 was slightly higher than that observed from 2019 to 2020 and higher than the average annual growth rate over the past ten years
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