Jan 08, 2021 19:17 UTC
  • CO2 levels in 2021 to reach levels 50% higher than in 18th c.: UK Met Office

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will this year reach levels 50 percent higher than before the industrial revolution because of manmade emissions, Britain's Met Office predicted on Friday.

According to reports, it forecasted the annual average CO2 concentration measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii in 2021 will be around 2.29 parts per million (ppm) higher than in 2020.

It said CO2 concentrations will exceed 417 ppm at some point between April and June — 50 percent higher than the 278 ppm present in the late 18th century when the industrial era kicked off.

This is despite an unprecedented fall in greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 because of the pandemic.

"Since CO2 stays in the atmosphere for a very long time, each year's emissions add to those from previous years and cause the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to keep increasing," said Richard Betts, lead producer of the Met Office's annual CO2 forecast.

"Although the Covid-19 pandemic meant that less CO2 was emitted worldwide in 2020 than in previous years, which still added to the ongoing build-up in the atmosphere."

Mauna Loa has been continuously monitoring atmospheric CO2 levels — which fluctuate according to the season but continue to climb annually — since 1958.

The United Nations says emissions from energy, food production, transport, and industry must fall more than 7 percent every year throughout the next decade in order to keep the temperature goals of the Paris climate deal in play.

The 2015 accord enjoins nations to limiting global warming to "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, and to 1.5C if at all possible.

With just over 1C of warming so far, Earth is already beset by extreme weather events such as flooding, droughts, and tropical storms supercharged by rising sea-levels.