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Ecological Crisis Triggered by Global Capitalism

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  • Sukla Sen
    Global warming gases at highest levels ever: UN Reuters Tuesday, March 14, 2006 By Robert Evans Greenhouse gases blamed for global warming and climate change
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 14, 2006
      Global warming gases at highest levels ever: UN


      Tuesday, March 14, 2006

      By Robert Evans

      Greenhouse gases blamed for global warming and climate
      change have reached their highest ever levels in the
      atmosphere, the World Meteorological Organization
      (WMO) said on Tuesday.

      A bulletin from the United Nations agency said the
      gases -- the main warming culprit carbon dioxide
      (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide -- "all reached new
      highs in 2004."

      WMO officials also indicated that a near record
      year-on-year rise in CO2 levels for 2005 recorded by
      U.S. monitors -- well above the average for the past
      10 years -- would not come as a major surprise.

      "Global observations coordinated by WMO show that
      levels of carbon dioxide, the most abundant greenhouse
      gas in the atmosphere, continue to increase steadily
      and show no signs of leveling off," said WMO
      Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

      Carbon dioxide, which the WMO says accounts for 90
      percent of warming over the past decade, is largely
      generated by human activity involving the burning of
      fossil fuels -- including in industry, transport and
      domestic heating.

      Scientists warn emissions must be slowed and reduced
      if the earth is to avoid climatic havoc with
      devastating heat waves, droughts, floods and rising
      sea-levels sinking low-lying island states and hitting
      seaboard cities like New York and London.

      The U.N.'s 1992 Kyoto Protocol, which came into force
      last year after a decade of wrangling, obliges major
      industrial nations to cut emissions while granting
      exemptions to developing countries like India and

      But it was weakened by the withdrawal in 2001 of the
      United States, whose President George W. Bush said
      that working to meet its targets would seriously
      damage the U.S. economy. He has also argued that
      warming is a natural, not man-made, process.

      In its first Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, to be an annual
      publication, the WMO said that in 2004 carbon dioxide
      levels in the atmosphere stood at 377.1 parts per
      million (ppm), 35 percent higher than in the
      pre-industrial age before 1750.

      Methane, generated by intensive farming and landfills
      as well as the burning of fossil fuels like oil and
      coal and which accounts for around 20 percent of the
      greenhouse effect, has risen 155 percent in the modern

      But its growth is slowing down, the WMO said, while
      nitrous oxide, which accounts for only 6 percent of
      the warming effect, is rising consistently.

      The average annual increase in absolute amounts of CO2
      in the atmosphere over the past decade has been 1.9
      ppm, slightly higher than the 1.8 ppm of 2004, WMO
      environment division chief Leonard Barrie told a news

      Barrie said a finding by the U.N. National Oceanic and
      Atmospheric Administration, cited by the British
      Broadcasting Corporation, that carbon dioxide had
      grown last year by 2.6 ppm had to be viewed in

      "It is important to take the long view. There can be
      fluctuations," he said. "The 2.6 ppm figure is within
      past experience. If it were to persist over several
      years, then we would have to start talking about what
      it means."

      Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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