GENEVA (AFP) – Surging levels of carbon dioxide sent greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to a new record in 2013, while oceans, which absorb the emissions, have become more acidic than ever, the UN said on Tuesday.
“We know without any doubt that our climate is changing and our weather is becoming more extreme due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels,” said Michel Jarraud, the head of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) that released a report on the issue on Tuesday.
“We must reverse this trend by cutting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases across the board,” Jarraud said in a statement.
“We are running out of time,” he warned.
Concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide all broke fresh records in 2013, said the report.
Global concentrations of CO2, the main culprit in global warming, soared to 396 parts per million last year, or 142 per cent of pre-industrial levels – defined as before 1750.
That marked a hike of 2.9 parts per million between 2012 and 2013 alone – the largest annual increase in 30 years, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
The report came ahead of a September 23 summit called by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to try to build momentum for change ahead of talks in Paris next year aimed at forging a historic climate deal that will take effect in 2020.