By Carlos Manuel Eusoya

Photo Courtesy by Tatiana Grozetskaya/Shutterstock/Rappler

Time’s up! Game over.

For video game players, hearing these words must be frustrating. The fact that your time ran out while there was still so much left to do is a worrying experience. Yet, video games are made in such a way that they can be restarted and replayed all over again.

What if the phrase “time’s up” was placed in another non-restartable context? What if the time to save our planet is the one that’s running out?

“Time is running out… The continuing rise in concentrations of the main heat-trapping gases, including the record acceleration in methane levels, shows that we are heading in the wrong direction,” Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), alarmingly stated in the agency’s latest report.

Specifically, the United Nations’ weather agency has reported significant increases in the three main greenhouse gases that trap solar radiation transmitted from the Sun, which result in higher global surface and ambient temperatures, as well as climate variability. These three greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.

Within a very short period of ten years, carbon dioxide, the main ingredient behind the climate change phenomenon, increased from 2.5 parts per million (ppm) to 415.7 ppm. This skyrocketing level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has not occurred in millennia, and has only happened in rare instances, such as millions of years ago, when the Earth was undergoing heat changes and extinction events.

This WMO report has already incited various responses and sentiments from the international community. In particular, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has urged countries to make “strong, rapid and sustained reductions” in their greenhouse gas levels. “[We need to place] a lot of pressure on the world to step up its game,” stated Durwood Zaelke, a reviewer of IPCC and the current incumbent president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.

The United Nations will convene in Egypt this coming November, for the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP27), a series of exchanges and planning sessions on how to resolve the posed risks of climate change and mitigate the impacts of this phenomenon.