Scientists said that due to human activities such as the use of fossil fuels and deforestation, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere reached record levels despite the decrease in emissions during the Covid-19 pandemic. The researchers stated that it took more than 200 years to increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 25 percent and to increase 50 percent above the levels before the Industrial Revolution in just 30 years.The researchers compared the situation to the impact of a human-made meteorite.
Global emissions were temporarily reduced in 2020 as a result of travel restrictions and a decrease in economic activity when the new type of corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic broke out. However, the decrease in emissions was not enough to significantly affect the carbon dioxide formation that continues to rise in the atmosphere.
Scientists have announced that due to global warming, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere reached record levels despite the decrease in emissions during the Covid-19 outbreak. The latest measurements from the long-running recording station at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii showed that global carbon dioxide levels were 50 percent higher than when the Industrial Revolution began.
Data published by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the University of California San Diego showed atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas averaged 417.14 parts per million (ppm) in March, a new record level.
However, the UK Meteorological Office estimates that rising temperatures and monthly carbon dioxide concentrations, the main driver of the climate crisis, will peak at around 419.5 ppm in 2021.
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere fluctuate throughout the year and fall as part of it is absorbed by plants growing in the Northern Hemisphere in spring and summer before rising again in autumn and winter. However, the UK Meteorological Office said the long-term trend in increasing carbon dioxide concentrations was mainly due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation.
Researchers warned that much larger, longer-term reductions in emissions would be needed to slow or halt the rise.
In order to be protected from the destructive effects of global warming, the world should not be warmer than 2 degrees Celsius compared to 200 years ago. In order to keep the adverse effects of warming at reasonable levels, the temperature increase must remain below 1.5 degrees, which is the critical threshold. Under the Paris Climate Agreement signed by governments to achieve this, global emissions need to reach net zero around 2050.
Commenting on the latest data, Prof Martin Siegert of Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute stated that the new record level is fully expected, “Emissions may have been reduced, but we are still releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide and therefore the atmospheric concentration is doomed to increase.”
Professor Simon Lewis of the University of London College said the following. “It’s easy to forget how much and how quickly fossil fuel emissions affect our planet. It took more than 200 years to increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 25 percent, and only 30 years to rise 50 percent above pre-Industrial Revolution levels. “This striking change is like a meteorite hitting the Earth.”