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Atmospheric greenhouse gas levels reached record high in 2018

One Planet Summit

Greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2018, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Carbon dioxide levels reached 407.8 parts per million in 2018, up from 405.5 parts per million in 2017, the organization said in a Monday release.

Methane and nitrous oxide levels also rose, the organization wrote, citing data from the Global Atmosphere Watch Network. The WMO said that 60% of methane emissions and 40% of nitrous oxide emissions can be linked to human activities.

"There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in the release. "We need to translate the commitments into action and increase the level of ambition for the sake of the future welfare of the mankind."

The report comes just weeks after President Trump began officially pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accords, an agreement between nearly 200 countries to set limits on greenhouse gas emissions. 

Climate change, caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas, has already warmed the world by 1.8 degrees since the late 1800s, caused massive melting of ice globally, triggered weather extremes and changed ocean chemistry. Scientists say that depending on how much carbon dioxide is emitted, it will only get worse by the end of the century with temperatures jumping by several degrees and oceans rising by close to three feet.

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