- Carbon dioxide and methane continued to rise relentlessly in 2020 despite the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
- “Human activity is the engine of climate change.”
- The world is already more than 2 [degrees Fahrenheit] hotter than before the industrial revolution. “
The COVID-19 pandemic has done nothing to slow the root cause of global warming.
In fact, the level of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere is now higher than it has been for at least 3.6 million years, federal scientists said Wednesday.
At that time, the sea level was up to 78 feet higher, the average temperature was 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than in pre-industrial times, Greenland was mostly green, and Antarctica had trees.
Overall, the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane – the two most important greenhouse gases – continued to rise steadily in 2020 despite the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, scientists say of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Human activity is the engine of climate change,” Colm Sweeney of the NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory said in a statement on Wednesday. “If we are to mitigate the worst impacts, we will need to deliberately focus on reducing fossil fuel emissions to near zero – and even then we will have to look for ways to further remove greenhouse gases from the world. ‘atmosphere.”
The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas releases greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, which have raised the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere to levels that cannot be explained due to natural factors, according to scientists.
Over the past 20 years, the global temperature has risen by about two-thirds of a degree Fahrenheit, NOAA said.
“We have no doubts that the increase in CO2 is warming the planet,” Kate Marvel, a climate scientist at NASA, told the Capital Weather Gang this week. “I am even more certain that CO2 causes global warming than I am that smoking causes cancer. The world is already more than 2 [degrees Fahrenheit] hotter than before the industrial revolution. “
Carbon dioxide is called a greenhouse gas for its ability to trap solar radiation and keep it confined in the atmosphere.
It’s invisible, odorless and colorless but is responsible for 63% of the warming attributable to all greenhouse gases, according to the NOAA Colorado Earth System Research Lab.
The global surface average for carbon dioxide was 412.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2020, increasing 2.6 ppm during the year. The global rate of increase was the fifth-highest in NOAA’s 63-year record.
The pandemic-fueled economic recession is estimated to have reduced carbon emissions by about 7% in 2020, NOAA said. Without the economic downturn, the increase in 2020 would have been the highest on record, according to Pieter Tans, a senior researcher at NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory.
The NOAA analysis also showed that the annual increase in atmospheric methane – a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming – for 2020 was 14.7 parts per billion. , which is the largest annual increase recorded since the start of measurements in 1983.
“While the increase in fossil emissions may not be entirely responsible for the recent growth in methane levels, reducing fossil methane emissions is an important step towards mitigating climate change,” the research chemist said. from NOAA, Ed Dlugokencky.