What’s the news?
- A report from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) highlighted that the increase in CO2 from 2019 to 2020 was slightly lower than that observed from 2018 to 2019 but higher than the average annual growth rate over the past decade.
- This is despite the approximately 5.6% drop in fossil fuel CO2 emissions in 2020 due to restrictions related to the pandemic.
Emissions on the Rise
- For methane, the increase from 2019 to 2020 was higher than that observed from 2018 to 2019 and also higher than the average annual growth rate over the past decade.
- For nitrous oxides also, the increase was higher than the average annual growth rate over the past 10 years.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI) shows that from 1990 to 2020, radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases (LLGHGs) increased by 47%, with CO2 accounting for about 80% of this increase.
- The Concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most significant greenhouse gas, reached 413.2 parts per million in 2020 and is 149% of the pre-industrial level.
- Other gases such as Methane (CH4) is 262% and nitrous oxide (N2O) is 123% of the levels in 1,750 when human activities started disrupting earth’s natural equilibrium.
- Roughly half of the CO2 emitted by human activities today remains in the atmosphere while the other half is taken up by oceans and land ecosystems.
- The current rate of increase in greenhouse gas concentrations will see a temperature increase by the end of this century far in excess of the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.