In 2020, the year of the pandemic, the record for greenhouse gas emissions was once again set according to the UN. The World Meteorological Organization warns of the urgency of reducing emissions after observing that neither with the restrictions nor with the temporary fall of 5.6% in emissions emissions the trend has changed. In its annual report it indicates, for example, that the carbon dioxide reached 413 parts per million in 2020, up from 410 in 2019.
Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, has pointed out: “We have once again broken records in the main greenhouse gases: the carbon dioxide, the methane and the nitrous oxide. A negative trend that we have been observing for decades and that has also continued. “
The agency has indicated that there is no time to lose to adopt lifestyle changes. Emissions increased at a faster rate than the annual average for the last decade. The harsh warning comes 6 days after the Conference of the HE-HER-IT on Climate Change COP26 in Glasgow.
“We have to rethink our industrial, energy and transportation systems, our entire way of life”, has declared the secretary general of the OMM, the Finnish Petteri Taalas, by presenting the new data, with which the agency hopes to influence the actions of the international community in Glasgow.
“Many countries are now setting carbon neutral targets, and hopefully in the COP26 from Glasgow there is a dramatic increase in those commitments “, has analyzed Taalas, who asserted that the changes “They are economically and technically feasible, and there is no time to waste adopting them.”
Deforestation of the Amazon has reduced CO2 absorption
One of the most alarming points of the report is that it indicates that parts of the Amazon, traditionally considered one of the great lungs of the planet and thus a fundamental source of carbon dioxide absorption, they are already net emitters of that gas.
The head of atmospheric and environmental research at the OMM, Oksana Tarasova, explained that this change has occurred specifically in areas of the eastern Amazon rainforest, and that although fires have been an important factor in the phenomenon, it has been mainly due to deforestation.
According to OMM, half of carbon dioxide produced by human activity is absorbed by the atmosphere and the other half by oceans and soils that act as buffers of the greenhouse effect, but the organization warns that the absorbent capacity of the latter two may be reduced in the future.
Droughts and forest fires could reduce the absorption of CO2 in the earth’s crust, and the same can happen in marine waters due to the slowdown in ocean circulation that could lead to melting at the poles.
The report of the OMM warns that levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, a gas that is responsible for 80% of global warming, are already 149% higher than those of the pre-industrial era, and given their long duration they can contribute to an increase in temperatures for decades, even achieving zero net emissions.
It also predicts that by the end of 2021 the concentrations of CO2 They will once again set record levels, and in this sense measurements carried out in the middle of the year in observatories such as those of Tenerife (Spain) and Hawaii (USA) registered concentrations of up to 419 parts per million.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.