(BN) Greenhouse Gases Increase to Record in Atmosphere, UN Says


Greenhouse Gases Increase to Record in Atmosphere, UN Says
2010-11-24 15:18:46.158 GMT

By Alex Morales
Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous
oxide, the main man-made greenhouse gases blamed for global
warming, increased to record post-industrial concentrations last
year, the United Nations said.
Carbon dioxide, the most important heat-trapping gas, last
year rose to 386.8 parts per million molecules of air, the UN's
World Meteorological Organization said today in an e-mailed
statement. That's 1.6 ppm higher than in 2008. The methane
concentration increased by 6 parts per billion while nitrous
oxide rose by 0.7 parts per billion.
The atmospheric gases, stemming mainly from burning fossil
fuels, changes in land use and deforestation, continued a rising
trend that began with industrialization in the 18th century. The
WMO report occurs before envoys from more than 190 nations meet
next week in Cancun, Mexico, for negotiations aimed at
developing a treaty to fight climate change.
"Greenhouse gas concentrations have reached record levels
despite the economic slowdown," WMO Secretary-General Michel
Jarraud said in a statement. "They would have been even higher
without the international action taken to reduce them."
Methane emissions have now risen for the past three years
after stalling from 1999 through 2006, according to the
statement. That may be because of releases from natural sources,
the WMO said. Scientists have said warmer temperatures could
unlock methane from thawing permafrost soils, adding to climate
"Potential methane release from northern permafrost and
wetlands, under future climate change is of great concern and is
becoming a focus of intensive research," Jarraud said.

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--Editors: Randall Hackley, Alex Devine

To contact the reporter on this story:
Alex Morales in London at +44-20-7330-7718 or

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at +44-20-7330-7862 or