• According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, the abundance of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere once again reached a new record last year (2020), with the annual rate of increase above the 2011-2020 average.
  • This is despite the approximately 5.6% drop in fossil fuel CO2 emissionsin 2020 due to restrictions related to the pandemic.
  • Earlier, the WMO released a report named United in Science 2021. WMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.
  • The WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Programme coordinates systematic observations and analysis of greenhouse gases and other atmospheric constituents.

Important points:

  • Concentration of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), the most important greenhouse gas, reached 413.2 parts per million in 2020 and is 149% of the pre-industrial level.
  • Many countries are now setting carbon neutral targets and it is hoped that COP26(Climate Conference) will see a dramatic increase in commitments.
  • Methane (CH4) is 262% and Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is 123% of the levels in 1750 when human activities started disrupting Earth’s natural equilibrium.
  • The economic slowdown from Covid-19 did not have any distinguishable impact on the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases and their growth rates, although there was a temporary decline in new emissions.
  • From 1990 to 2020, radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – by long-lived greenhouse gases increased by 47%, with CO2 accounting for about 80% of this increase.
  • The ability of land ecosystems and oceans to act as “sinks” may become less effective in future, thus reducing their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and act as a buffer against larger temperature increases.


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