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Global Carbon Emissions reaches new levels, 50% higher than the preindustrial period

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi

Scientists on Monday alerted that the global heat-trapping CO2 has reached another dangerous level much more higher than when the industrial age started.  The scientists warned that the average rate of increase is faster than before. 

As per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the average CO2 emission level for May this year was 419.13 parts per million. This is 1.82 parts per million higher than May 2020 and 50% higher than the stable pre-industrial levels of 280 parts per million. 

Carbon emissions across the world reaches the peak every May just before plant life in the Northern Hemisphere starts, absorbing some of the carbon out of the atmosphere and into flowers, leaves, seeds, and stems.  

Moreover, this relief is temporary because the carbon emission from burning coal, oil, and natural gas for transportation and electricity is much higher than what plants can take in. This increases the greenhouse gas levels to new records every year

Climate scientist of Cornell University, Natalie Mahowald, who was not part of the research said, “Reaching 50% higher carbon dioxide than preindustrial is setting a new benchmark and not in a good way. If we want to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, we need to work much harder to cut carbon dioxide emissions and right away.” 

Researches have highlighted that other than rising global temperatures, climate change makes extreme weather conditions; storms, wildfires, floods, and droughts; worse and more frequent. There are also many health effects, including heat deaths and increase 

Scripps, measures the numbers slightly differently based on time and averaging, said the peak in May was 418.9.

Also, the covid-19 lockdown slowed carbon emissions by about 7% due to slowed transportation, travel, and other activity. But the decrease was very small to make a significant change. CO2 can stay in the air for 1,000 years or more, so year-to-year changes in emissions don’t register much. 

NOAA climate scientist Pieter Tans said the 10-year average rate of increase also set a record, now up to 2.4 parts per million per year. 

“Carbon dioxide going up in a few decades like that is extremely unusual,” Tans said. “For example, when the Earth climbed out of the last ice age, carbon dioxide increased by about 80 parts per million and it took the Earth system, the natural system, 6,000 years. We have a much larger increase in the last few decades.” 

By comparison, it has taken only 42 years, from 1979 to 2021, to enhance the CO2 level by that same amount. 

“The world is approaching the point where exceeding the Paris targets and entering a climate danger zone becomes almost inevitable,” said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer. 

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