GENEVA, Switzerland, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The World Meteorological Organization said Wednesday the amount of greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2012.
"The observations from WMO's extensive Global Atmosphere Watch network highlight yet again how heat-trapping gases from human activities have upset the natural balance of our atmosphere and are a major contribution to climate change," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement. "As a result of this, our climate is changing, our weather is more extreme, ice sheets and glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising."
WMO said there was a 32 percent increase in the warming effect of greenhouse gases between 1990 and 2012. Carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels like oil and coal accounted for 80 percent of the increase.
CO2 levels in the atmosphere increased at a higher rate from 2011 to 2012 than the average growth rate over the last 10 years, the WMO's report said.
Jarraud said the temperature increases associated with higher levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may result in "devastating consequences" for the international community.
"We need to act now, otherwise we will jeopardize the future of our children, grandchildren and many future generations," he said. "Time is not on our side."