Friday, April 25, 2008

Greenhouse gases - Increasing rapidly

As many of you know greenhouse gases emission is mostly responsible for global warming and it is crucial to cut down these emissions if we want to have decent chance in fight against global warming and climate change. And though there has been lot of talks, agreements and god knows what else, greenhouse gases levels are still increasing. Two key greenhouse gases responsible for global warming are carbon dioxide and methane, and according to the latest study carried out by the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, these two greenhouse gases had sharp growth last year (2007).

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the greenhouse gas that is mostly responsible for climate change effect (twice as much as methane) and last year alone it increased by 0.6 percent, or 19 billion tons, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels, and global concentration of carbon dioxide is now nearly 385 parts per million which is more than 100 ppm more than it were in pre-industrial period. Since 2000, annual increases of 2 ppm or more have been common, and just for comparison these levels were 1.5 ppm per year in the 1980s and less than 1 ppm per year during the 1960s.

International agreements to cut down carbon dioxide emissions like Kyoto protocol hadn't show success since USA and China failed to ratify this agreement, and these two countries convincingly lead the way in carbon dioxide emissions. There are only efforts of some European countries but they are too small to influence global levels of CO2 emission into the atmosphere.

Not only that carbon dioxide concentration increased, but what is even more worrying methane rose by 27 million tons after almost a decade(since 1998) with little or no increase. And though there's far less methane in atmosphere, methane is much more dangerous since it is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. There's also great threat of vast amounts of methane that are stored in permafrost, or permanently frozen ground, and as the Arctic continues to warm and permafrost thaws, methane could seep into the atmosphere, causing even more emissions and even bigger temperature increase.

As these results show there is only talk about cutting down greenhouse gases emission and major emitters like China and USA haven't still showed positive moves that would imply significant change to current emission levels. Kyoto protocol was originally good idea, but by the current look of it only in theory, since countries that lead greenhouse gases emission failed to ratify it. What world needs is another, less flexible agreement with no options like "we'll certainly think about it and in few years we'll let you know" that enables big emitters to delay their ratifications to infinity. The world has come to point where word "later" isn't acceptable, there's only "now" and word "now" has to be basis of all agreements if we want to maintain our hope in positive outcome. We need this hope and need it now. Not later, but now.

Greenhouse gases levels increasing rapidly

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