The concentration of carbon in the planet’s atmosphere has reached a record high, DPA-international states. This figure is higher than the average growth recorded during 2011-2020.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva said that due to the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, new emissions actually fell by 5.6% last year. However, according to the WMO, this did not have a “significant impact on the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and their growth rate.”
The new level of carbon dioxide was 413.2 parts per million, compared to 410.7 parts a year earlier. This is an increase of 149% compared to the pre-industrial level.
According to WMO chief Petteri Taalas, if the much stricter carbon targets than now are not met, the world will almost certainly not achieve the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to below 2° С or even 1.5° С compared to pre-industrial.
“We are way off track,” Taalas said in a press release.
Due to the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, new emissions actually dropped by 5.6% last year. However, according to the WMO, this had no “discernible impact on the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases and their growth rates.”
The news comes as world leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow on Sunday for the start of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, in an attempt to agree on meaningful action to curb global emissions.
The WMO report was a “stark, scientific message for climate change negotiators at COP26,” Taalas said.
Carbon dioxide is the most significant driver of global heating in the atmosphere. Humanity’s ability to reduce gas emissions is directly linked to whether irreversible climate change within decades can be avoided.