It was first recorded in history, since the industrial revolution in 2015, a mark of 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide (CO2). And in 2016, according to the latest forecasts of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), this will be the first year that, consistently, that mark is exceed. The most plausible explanation to date relates to the phenomenon of El Niño.
The 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 means that there are 400 molecules per million of that gas molecules in the atmosphere. WMO explains that this is due, in a way, to El Niño, which potentiated drought conditions in tropical regions. During a dry, vegetation absorbs less amount of CO2, but at the same time, the number of fires increased, which in turn have also increased emissions of CO2 (the remaining emissions are caused by human impact). According to WMO, these conditions will lead to the average values of the CO2 emissions of the last ten years exceeded in 2016.
The last time CO2 values exceeded 400 ppm was five million years ago and up to 1800 at the beginning of the industrial era, atmospheric levels were at 280 ppm.
These monitorization station WMO data, in Mauna Loa, located in Hawaii, also show an increase in the emission of other greenhouse effect gases, such as methane gas and nitrous oxide. Between 1990 and 2015 there was a 37% increase in the greenhouse effect, caused by the accumulation of substances from industrial, agricultural and domestic activities.
According to the Secretary-General of WMO, Petteri Taalas, the aim should be focused on reducing CO2 emissions, without this reduction, commits what has been agreed in Paris. “No combat CO2 emissions, you cannot fight climate change and keep the temperature rise below two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial era” said Petteri Taalas, quoted by the BBC online. “The year 2015 ushered in a new era of optimism and climate action with the Paris Agreement” sayd Taalas, “but also marks a new era of climate change, with a concentration of greenhouse effect gases never before seen”.
On November 4th, the 200 nations that have signed the Agreement of Paris will be in Morocco, to decide what action should be taken next.