Greenhouse gases: The UN wants to track them everywhere, all the time

The ambition of the UN is to be able to monitor the greenhouse gases at the origin of climate change anywhere and anytime.

The United Nations wants to be able to track the greenhouse gases at the origin of climate change – anywhere and anytime. Dozens of experts have gathered in Geneva to find the best way to achieve this.


The World Meteorological Organization wants to standardize the way data is produced, close knowledge gaps about where greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are going, and produce faster and more accurate information about the evolution of the planet’s atmosphere. The ultimate goal is to better inform strategies to combat global warming.

The WMO concluded a three-day meeting at its headquarters in Geneva on Wednesday that brought together more than 250 ocean, space, climate and meteorology experts. ” Climate change is the most pressing and persistent problem of our time Copernicus said Hugo Zunker of the European Earth observation program. ” Without understanding how the climate is changing and what risks these changes bring, we cannot plan for a sustainable and sustainable future. he insisted.

Data, more data

Currently, there is no comprehensive and timely international exchange of information from surface and space greenhouse gas observations. The three main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide.

CO2 alone is responsible for about 66% of global warming. There are gaps in knowledge about the role played by CO2 sinks – carbon sinks – such as the Amazon rainforest, oceans and permafrost.

We have great uncertainty about the terrestrial component of CO2, both carbon sources and sinks, and another unknown is methane. The head of the World Organization, Petteri Taalas, said this.

The WCO’s 2021 greenhouse gas bulletin, released at the UN Climate Summit COP27 in Egypt in November, showed the largest annual increase in methane concentrations since 1980. and we don’t fully understand the reason behind it said Mr. Taalas.

Therefore, WHO is developing a concept for an internationally coordinated GHG monitoring infrastructure. The new framework should facilitate ground- and space-based greenhouse gas monitoring systems with rapid access to common standards and measurements. ” The data generated by such a system will support the provision of robust quantitative data “, hopes the World Conservation Organization.

In the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, countries agreed to “ well below » Two degrees Celsius above levels measured between 1850 and 1900 – and possibly 1.5°C.

Where are you carbon?

A monitoring system would also provide a better understanding of the complete carbon cycle. Lars Peter Riishojgaard, who is responsible for these issues at the WMO, believes that we have a good understanding of the amount of CO2 emitted. ” We know how much oil and coal gas we produce in total. We can assume that everything is on fire “he said.

A part enters the land surface, and a part enters the ocean. We understand the sum of these two elements, but not the individual components “he insisted. For him, if we want to effectively reduce its harmful effects, it is important to understand the system as a whole. And you need to find reliable financing.

Most existing greenhouse gas monitoring measures are highly dependent on research capacity and funding, which are often very intermittent, making continuous global monitoring difficult.” difficult to achieve “, explains the WMO.

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