Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service says the past seven years have been the warmest ‘by a clear margin’ since records began.

The year 2021 was the world’s fifth warmest on record, while levels of planet-warming carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere reached new highs, European Union scientists said.

The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said in a report on Monday that the past seven years were the world’s warmest “with a clear margin” in records dating back to 1850 and the average global temperature in 2021 was 1.1 -1.2C (1.98) -2.16F) above 1850-1900 levels.

The hottest years on record were 2020 and 2016.

Countries committed under the 2015 Paris Agreement to try to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C (2.7F), the level scientists have said will avoid its worst impact. It will require emissions to be more or less halved by 2030, but so far they have charged higher.

As greenhouse gas emissions change the planet’s climate, the long-term heating trend has continued. Climate change exacerbated many of the extreme events that swept the world in 2021, from floods in Europe, China and southern Sudan, to wildfires in Siberia and the United States.

“The year 2021 was another year of extreme temperatures with the hottest summer in Europe, heat waves in the Mediterranean, not to mention the unprecedented high temperatures in North America,” revealed Carlo Buontempo, director of CS3 .

“These events are a stark reminder of the need to change our ways, take decisive and effective steps towards a sustainable society and work to reduce net carbon emissions,” Buontempo warned.

Global levels of CO2 and methane, the most important greenhouse gases, have continued to rise, reaching record highs in 2021.

The levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will reach 414.3 parts per million in 2021, with about 2.4 ppm higher than in 2020, the scientists said.

C3S said levels of methane, a particularly powerful greenhouse gas, have risen over the past two years, but the reasons why are not fully understood.

Methane emissions range from oil and gas production and farming to natural resources such as wetlands.

After a temporary decline in 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, preliminary data indicates that global CO2 emissions fell by 4.9 percent in 2021.

New highlights in Europe

Last summer was Europe’s warmest on record, CS3 said, after a hot March and unusually cold April that destroyed fruit crops in countries including France and Hungary.

In July and August, a Mediterranean heat wave ignited intense wildfires in countries including Turkey and Greece. Sicily has set a new European temperature of 48.8C (119.84F), a record awaiting official confirmation.

In July, more than 200 people died when torrential rains caused deadly floods in Western Europe. Scientists have concluded that climate change has made floods at least 20 percent more likely.

In the Glasgow Climate Pact, members of the United Nations confirmed in November that they wanted to stop global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times. But climate experts said that the pact does not go far enough, especially to help protect vulnerable nations from the effects of global warming.

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