Science 2 min read

CO2 Levels to Reach 50 Percent Higher Than the Industrial Era

Gerd Altmann /

Gerd Altmann /

A recent forecast suggests that the CO2 levels in 2021 will reach 50 percent higher than in the 18th century.

Several conditions are necessary for the Paris climate deal’s temperature goals to remain in play. One of these includes keeping CO2 levels below 7 percent every year throughout the next decades.

Admittedly, last year’s pandemic resulted in an unprecedented drop in emission levels. However, this massive reduction in CO2 levels might not be enough to attain climate goals.

According to a prediction from Britain’s Met Office, atmospheric CO2 levels are rising annually. What’s more, the respite from the pandemic had minimal effect.

In a statement, lead producer of the Met Office’s CO2 forecast, Richard Betts, said:

“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.”

Here’s a breakdown of the forecast.

How CO2 Levels Has Increased Annually

According to the Met Office, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere in 2021 will reach a new height.

The report predicted that the annual average CO2 concentration measured in Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii would exceed the 2020’s. It’ll be around roughly 2.29 parts per million (ppm) higher than the previous year.

The report further stated that CO2 concentration would exceed 417 ppm at some point between April and June. That’s a whopping 50 percent higher than the 278 ppm of the late 18th century — during the industrial era.

Betts explained:

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

The 2015 climate agreement requires that nations limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. And if possible, nations should maintain a global temperature of around 1.5°C.

With over 1°C, the planet is already experiencing several extreme weather events. These include droughts, flooding, and tropical storms, to name a few.

“Reversing this trend and slowing the atmospheric CO2 rise will need global emissions to reduce,” said Betts. “And bringing them to a halt will need global emissions to be brought down to net zero.”

Read More: Climate Change Endangers 60 Percent of Fish Species

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Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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