Greenhouse gas emissions reach new high
A new report has found that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in 2010 was the biggest yearly figure since pre-industrial times. Alex Blackburne examines the findings, and explains what can be done to stop the increase.
A UN agency has revealed how greenhouse gas figures climbed drastically last year, and now dwarf even the most pessimistic predictions from a similar study 10 years ago.
The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) report states that between 1990 and 2010, there was a 29% increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate system – from greenhouse gases, with carbon dioxide accounting for 80% of this increase.
The findings are much greater than those predicted in a 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report called Climate Change 2001.
Andy Atkins, executive director at environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth, issued a stark call for action following the WMO’s findings.
“Over recent years we’ve been sleepwalking towards a climate disaster – it seems we’ve now broken into a sprint”, he said.
“The world must wake up to the enormous threat we all face and the wealthiest nations must take a lead by agreeing legally-binding cuts to wean their economies off gas, coal and oil – and providing funds for poorer countries to develop cleanly.
“The time for excuses is over as climate change is already starting to bite – it’s time for real international leadership.”
Atkins’ demand for strong authority echoes a Blue & Green Tomorrow feature from last week, in which Simon Leadbetter asked where the world’s ‘leaders’ had gone in the global battle against climate change.
WMO secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, added to the gloom by saying the effect of greenhouse gas emissions will continue haunt the planet.
“Even if we managed to halt our greenhouse gas emissions today – and this is far from the case – they would continue to linger in the atmosphere for decades to come and so continue to affect the delicate balance of our living planet and our climate.”
Whilst what Jarraud said is completely, and frighteningly, true, it doesn’t mean to say that we can’t do anything about it. Significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions now would ensure that our long-term future is a cleaner and more sustainable one, even if the short-term future is still suffocated by 20th and 21st century pollution.
The best way for individuals to make a huge difference in doing this is to start investing ethically. Putting your money into funds that are ethical, sustainable and environmentally-conscious is the most effective method of being kind to our planet.
The majority of ethical investments won’t invest in companies that contribute to the startling figures that the WMO has produced. This is why it’s imperative that the trend becomes a worldwide phenomenon.
If the WMO’s figures have provided you with the realisation that there are organisations out there that are significantly damaging the planet, you can make a real difference.
Ask your financial adviser, if you have one, about ethical, sustainable and socially-responsible investment, or complete our online form and we’ll connect you with a specialist ethical adviser.
Register with Blue and Green
To leave a comment on this article, fill in your details below to register, alternatively if you are already registered you can login here