Greenhouse gas emissions climbed to all-time highs in 2017, a year in which climate change caused scorching temperatures worldwide and ice to melt at record levels in the Arctic, according to a report.
The report, “State of the Climate in 2017”, led by the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was published on Wednesday by the American Meteorological Society, reports Efe news.
The annual global average carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration at Earth’s surface last year was 405 parts per million, 2.2 ppm more than in 2016 and the “highest in the modern atmospheric measurement record”, the report said.
Itnoted that the global growth rate of CO2 has “nearly quadrupled since the early 1960s”.
The study said Spain, Argentina, Uruguay and Bulgaria, among other countries, reported record-high annual temperatures, while Mexico “broke its annual record for the fourth consecutive year”.
In addition, the dominant greenhouse gases released into Earth’s atmosphere (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) also reached new record highs.
The Arctic sea ice extent in March, at the end of the growth season, shrank to its lowest maximum level in the 37-year satellite record, while preliminary data indicates that glaciers worldwide lost mass for the 38th consecutive year, the report said.
The latest edition of this report was released a year after the US – the world’s second-largest polluter after China – withdrew from the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord, in which 170 countries committed to reductions in carbon emissions.
US President Donald Trump, who had vowed on the campaign trail that he would take that step, said in 2012 that climate change was a hoax created by the Chinese to make US manufacturing non-competitive.
On Wednesday, the acting administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, said the agency he leads would continue Trump’s agenda “post-haste”.
“We haven’t slowed down and we haven’t missed a step,” Wheeler said when asked about the Trump administration’s environmental policies during an appearance before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.