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GLOBAL

CO2 emissions rise to new record: WMO

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's Geneva-based weather agency 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 Organization (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 percent 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 comes ahead of a September 23rd 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.
   
The UN is seeking to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, but scientists say current emission trends could hike temperatures to more than twice that level by century's end.

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GLOBAL

UN agency declares 2014 hottest year on record

The year 2014 was the hottest on record, part of a "warming trend" that appeared set to continue, the United Nations' Geneva-based weather agency said on Monday.

Average global air temperatures in 2014 were 0.57 degrees Celsius higher than the long-term average of 14 degrees for a 1961-1990 reference period, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.
   
"Fourteen of the 15 hottest years have all been this century," said WMO secretary general Michel Jarraud in a statement.
   
"In 2014, record-breaking heat combined with torrential rainfall and floods in many countries and drought in some others — consistent with the expectation of a changing climate," he added.
   
Global sea-surface temperatures also reached record levels.

'Global warming to continue' 

United Nations members will meet in Geneva next week for talks on a global climate pact that must be signed in Paris in December for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
   
The UN seeks to limit warming to no more than 2 C over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, but scientists warn the Earth is on target for double that target — a scenario that could be catastrophic.
   
"We expect global warming to continue, given that rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the increasing heat content of the oceans are committing us to a warmer future," said Jarraud.
   
The WMO said that only a few hundredths of a degree separated the warmest years.

Average global air temperatures in 2010 were 0.55 C above average, compared to 2014's 0.57 C, and 0.54 C in 2005.
   
Also notable was that the 2014 record occurred in the absence of a fully-developed El Nino system — a periodic weather phenomenon that has an overall warming impact on Earth's climate.
   
High temperatures in 1998 — the hottest year before the 21st century — occurred during a strong El Nino.
   
The WMO report is a consolidation of leading international datasets, including research by NASA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Met Office's Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit.
   
Some of the data goes back to 1850.
   
Scientists warn that a 4 C warmer Earth would be hit by more catastrophic droughts, floods, rising seas and storms, with wars likely fought over ever-scarcer resources like water.
   
Fraught UN negotiations for a climate-saving pact, scheduled to enter into force from 2020, are at a difficult phase and campaigners and observers fear a weak compromise as nations continue to disagree of some of the very fundamentals.
   
Countries have committed to make emissions-curbing pledges before the Paris gathering — starting next month for those nations in a position to do so.
   
Emissions must be slashed by 40-70 percent by 2050 from 2010 levels and to near zero or below by 2100 for a good chance of reaching two-degree warming, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in a report last year.

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