Levels of greenhouse gas levels in our atmosphere are soaring, hitting yet another record high this year, the World Meteorological Organisation has warned.
In an appeal to Governments to do more to reverse countries' reliance on producing energy from fossil fuels, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, warned that "the future welfare of mankind" was at stake.
Concentrations of carbon dioxide, the main gas driving global warming, reached new highs of 407.8 parts per million in 2018, up from 405.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2017, a report by the United Nations body shows.
That increase was just above the annual average increase of 2.06ppm over the past decade. That's an increase from the global average of 405.5 parts per million in 2017, and there's no sign of the increasing concentrations slowing down.
CO2 is particularly harmful in a global warming context because it remains in the atmosphere for centuries and in the oceans for even longer, the agency explained.
Since 1990, there has been a 43% increase in total radiative forcing - the warming effect on the climate - by long-lived greenhouse gases.
Of these gases, Carbon dioxide accounts for about 80 per cent, according to the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), whose data is quoted in the WMO Bulletin.
The WMO report examines concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere instead of exclusively focusing on carbon emissions.
Mr Taalas said: "It is worth recalling that the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of Carbon dioxide was three to five million years ago". "Support then, the temperature used to be 2-3C warmer, sea level used to be 10-20m bigger than now", said Mr Taalas. It measures the atmospheric concentration of these gases responsible for global warming, instead of emissions. Now in its tenths year, the Emissions Gap report assesses the latest scientific studies on current and estimated future greenhouse gas emissions; they compare these with the emission levels permissible for the world to progress on a least-cost pathway to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
A report co-authored by UNEP showed last week that major fossil fuel producers are set to bust global environmental goals with their coal, oil and gas extraction in the next decade.
The WMO also records concentrations of different warming gases, including methane and nitrous oxide. About 40 per cent of the methane released into the air comes from natural sources and 60 per cent from human activities like cattle farming, rice cultivation and landfill dumps.
Similarly, atmospheric methane levels reached new highs of about 1,869 parts per billion, reaching a massive 259% of the pre-industrial level. Primarily essentially based completely on the WMO, it is now at 123% of the phases that existed in 1750.