'No sign of a slowdown' as greenhouse gas concentration hits record high again

Tim O'Donnell

Even as countries rush to cap or limit their emissions, greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have reached a record high — again.

The United Nations' World Meteorological Organization said Monday that globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide reached a record-breaking 407.8 parts per million in 2018. That surpassed the previous high, which was set the year before, and the WMO was feeling pretty pessimistic going forward.

"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," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, adding that the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of carbon dioxide was 3-5 million years ago.

Executive Director of the U.N. Environment Program Inger Andersen said the WMO's findings "point us in a clear direction" and that "we face a stark choice" to "set in motion the radical transformations we need now" or "face the consequences" of climate change. A report from the UNEP on the emissions gap will be released Tuesday. Read the WMO's full statement here.

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