Greenhouse gas levels reached a new record during 2019 despite an expected drop in emissions due to COVID-19 lockdowns, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported.
It is known that the lockdown has cut emissions of many pollutants and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
However, WMO explained that any impact on CO2 concentrations – the result of cumulative past and current emissions – is in fact no bigger than the normal year to year fluctuations in the carbon cycle and the high natural variability in carbon sinks like vegetation.
Carbon dioxide levels saw another growth spurt in 2019 and the annual global average touched a new record of 410.5 parts, while global data for 2020 are not yet available.
We breached the global threshold of 400 parts per million in 2015. And just four years later, we crossed 410 ppm. Such a rate of increase has never been seen in the history of our records. The lockdown-related fall in emissions is just a tiny blip on the long-term graph. We need a sustained flattening of the curve.
….as WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas noted.
The Global Carbon Project estimated that during the most intense period of the shutdown, daily CO2 emissions may have been reduced by up to 17% globally due to the confinement of the population.
As the duration and severity of confinement measures remain unclear, the prediction of the total annual emission reduction over 2020 is very uncertain.