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Lund-led greenhouse gas flow publication has huge media impact

Landscape seen from above. Photo.
View from Lund University's research station in Hyltemossa, which is part of the European research infrastructure ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System) that collects and distributes high-quality greenhouse gas data. Photo: Tobias Biermann.

Physical geographer Alex Vermeulen, who leads the work on the ICOS Carbon Portal, was the editor of a new publication about increasing greenhouse gas flows that has had a large international impact. He now hopes that the report will be considered during the UN’s ongoing Climate Change Conference in Dubai.

Alex, you were editor for the 19th edition of the World Meteorological Organization’s journal Greenhouse Gas Bulletin – can you tell us about that?
“Every year, Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on developments in the global averaged concentration of the most important greenhouse gases and attempts to explain trends and related research. The averaged concentrations are based on observations from more than 200 measuring stations around the world. The Bulletin is usually always presented at a press conference just before the UN’s Climate Change Conference.”

How would you describe the results in this year’s report?
“The concentrations of all the major greenhouse gases continue to rise and are at record levels. So, there are no signs thus far that the efforts to reduce emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement are beginning to have an effect. Since the concentrations in the atmosphere drive warming, this is not a particularly comforting message. One positive aspect, that should be highlighted, is that the World Meteorological Organization, where 193 countries are represented, has decided to establish a global centre for the monitoring of greenhouse gases.”

This year’s bulletin has attracted a lot of media attention. Can you tell us more?
“In the first two days, the report received 3,100 mentions in global media such as CNN, Al Jazeera, New York Times, The Guardian and France 24. Previous bulletins have eventually got billions of mentions in conventional and social media. The publication is always an important source of input for COP and this will once again be the case at COP28 in Dubai”.

How will the latest results influence decisions at the climate meeting?
“First of all, I hope that the report will lead to an increased awareness of the grave situation concerning climate change and an increased willingness to begin to reduce emissions as soon as possible.”

Text:  Johan Joelsson

Key facts about ICOS

ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System) is a European research infrastructure that gathers and distributes high-quality greenhouse gas data from 180 research stations in 16 European countries. ICOS Carbon Portal, which Alex Vermeulen leads from the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, is a virtual data centre that makes observation data and research products accessible.