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COVID lockdowns only had a marginal impact on stopping global warming, says WMO

Nov 24, 2020

Brussels (Belgium) November 24: Global carbon dioxide levels continue to rise despite the industrial slowdown and other environmental impacts of lockdowns designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, says the World Meteorological Organization.
It has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic "is not a solution for climate change" and that a much-vaunted lockdown-related fall in emissions in 2020 was "just a tiny blip on the long-term graph. We need a sustained flattening of the curve," WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said.
Global lockdowns since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have seen levels of emissions and carbon dioxide reduced as factories were closed, flights were grounded and millions of people were required to stay at home.
It followed a huge spurt in 2019 when the annual global average of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed the milestone of 410 parts per million. Since 1990, there has been a 45% increase in global warming, with CO2 accounting for four-fifths of this rise, the WMO said.
"Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for centuries and in the ocean for even longer. The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now. But there weren't 7.7 billion inhabitants," said Taalas.
"We breached the global threshold of 400 parts per million in 2015. And just four years later, we crossed 410 ppm. Such a rate of increase has never been seen in the history of our records."
But while the impact on climate change was negligible, Taalas said that the pandemic "provides us with a platform for more sustained and ambitious climate action to reduce emissions to net-zero through a complete transformation of our industrial, energy and transport systems.
"The needed changes are economically affordable and technically possible and would affect our everyday life only marginally. It is to be welcomed that a growing number of countries and companies have committed themselves to carbon neutrality. There is no time to lose."
The Global Carbon Project said that daily CO2 emissions were reduced by as much as 17% globally during the strictest period of confinement earlier in 2020. In total, annual global emissions are due to be down between 4.2% and 7.5%.
But the project warned that on a global scale this would not cause atmospheric Co2 to go down, it will simply see it rise at a more reduced pace.
Source: Euro News