The World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) annual bulletin shows the three main greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – all reached record high concentrations in the atmosphere in 2021, showing the world was “heading in the wrong direction” on climate change.

Potent greenhouse gas methane saw the biggest year-on-year jump in levels since measurements began nearly 40 years ago.

The WMO said the reason for the leap in methane was not clear but it seems to be the result of both biological and human-induced processes.

Methane, a strong but short-lived greenhouse gas, is produced from a range of sources, including natural wetlands, agriculture and fossil fuel production.

The report said the increase in methane levels in recent years was thought to be predominantly from biological sources such as wetlands or rice paddies.

But it was not yet clear if that was partly due to increased emissions from wetlands as a result of global warming speeding up the natural decomposition processes that give rise to methane.

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