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Report: CO2 Rising At Record Breaking Speeds, Planet Not Absorbing Excess Carbon

Remember that actual threat whose solution does not put money into the hands of politically-connected defense contractors? A new UN report shows that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rose faster than even many climate scientists had predicted providing more evidence that current strategies by governments around the world to combat climate change is failing.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, 2013 climate data not only demonstrated historically high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere but showed a serious diminishment in the ability of the planet to absorb the excess carbon. If the planet can not absorb as much carbon the effects of climate change will get considerably worse.

The report also noted that the threshold point of a global average level of atmospheric carbon at 400 parts per million is likely to be crossed in the next two years. The 400 parts per million level is the point where scientists believe climate change effects could become more dramatic. One of the most prominent climate change groups, 350.org, takes its name from the 350 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere – considered to be the peak amount the planet could take and maintain current conditions by NASA scientist James Hansen.

Concentrations of nearly all the major greenhouse gases reached historic highs in 2013, reflecting ever-rising emissions from automobiles and smokestacks but also, scientists believe, a diminishing ability of the world’s oceans and plant life to soak up the excess carbon put into the atmosphere by humans, according to data released early Tuesday by the United Nations’ meteorological advisory body…

“If the oceans and the biosphere cannot absorb as much carbon, the effect on the atmosphere could be much worse,” said Oksana Tarasova, a scientist and chief of the WMO’s Global Atmospheric Watch program, which collects data from 125 monitoring stations worldwide. The monitoring network is regarded as the most reliable window on the health of Earth’s atmosphere, drawing on air samples collected near the poles, over the oceans, and in other locations far from cities and other major sources of pollution.

The report also noted increases in methane emissions as well as increased acidification of the oceans. Acidification of the oceans not only hurts ocean life it could damage the future capacity for the ocean to absorb as much carbon as it does now.

On September 23rd President Obama is set to meet at the UN with other world leaders on the issue of climate change. The climate summit is supposed to help lead to a “meaningful legal agreement in 2015.” Will the results of this recent UN report be enough to move the process forward?

CommunityThe Bullpen

Report: CO2 Rising At Record Breaking Speeds, Planet Not Absorbing Excess Carbon

Remember that actual threat whose solution does not put money into the hands of politically-connected defense contractors? A new UN report shows that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rose faster than even many climate scientists had predicted providing more evidence that current strategies by governments around the world to combat climate change is failing.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, 2013 climate data not only demonstrated historically high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere but showed a serious diminishment in the ability of the planet to absorb the excess carbon. If the planet can not absorb as much carbon the effects of climate change will get considerably worse.

The report also noted that the threshold point of a global average level of atmospheric carbon at 400 parts per million is likely to be crossed in the next two years. The 400 parts per million level is the point where scientists believe climate change effects could become more dramatic. One of the most prominent climate change groups, 350.org, takes its name from the 350 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere – considered to be the peak amount the planet could take and maintain current conditions by NASA scientist James Hansen.

Concentrations of nearly all the major greenhouse gases reached historic highs in 2013, reflecting ever-rising emissions from automobiles and smokestacks but also, scientists believe, a diminishing ability of the world’s oceans and plant life to soak up the excess carbon put into the atmosphere by humans, according to data released early Tuesday by the United Nations’ meteorological advisory body…

“If the oceans and the biosphere cannot absorb as much carbon, the effect on the atmosphere could be much worse,” said Oksana Tarasova, a scientist and chief of the WMO’s Global Atmospheric Watch program, which collects data from 125 monitoring stations worldwide. The monitoring network is regarded as the most reliable window on the health of Earth’s atmosphere, drawing on air samples collected near the poles, over the oceans, and in other locations far from cities and other major sources of pollution.

The report also noted increases in methane emissions as well as increased acidification of the oceans. Acidification of the oceans not only hurts ocean life it could damage the future capacity for the ocean to absorb as much carbon as it does now.

On September 23rd President Obama is set to meet at the UN with other world leaders on the issue of climate change. The climate summit is supposed to help lead to a “meaningful legal agreement in 2015.” Will the results of this recent UN report be enough to move the process forward?

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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