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23 Nov, 2020 12:28

Covid-19 lockdowns have little impact as greenhouse gas concentration continues to rise – UN agency

Covid-19 lockdowns have little impact as greenhouse gas concentration continues to rise – UN agency

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has warned that CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is likely to go up in 2020 despite a reduction in global emissions due to Covid-19.

The WMO said in a bulletin released on Monday that the expected drop in global emissions in 2020 is just a “tiny blip” in the buildup of dangerous gases and is unlikely to cause a reduction in greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere. 

The agency estimates state enforced lockdowns and a large drop in economic activity because of Covid-19 will contribute to a small reduction in global emissions in 2020, somewhere between 4.2 percent and 7.5 percent. The bulletin adds, “the impact of the COVID-19 confinements cannot be distinguished from natural variability.” 

Many scientists and observers had anticipated a considerable drop in emissions this year as people around the world were forced to work from home, industrial output was cut and planes were grounded. 

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said the rate of increase in greenhouse gas concentration, notably CO2, is a serious cause for concern and emphasized the need for a long-term plan to reduce emissions and combat climate change. 

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“We breached the global threshold of 400 [CO2] 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. The lockdown-related fall in emissions is just a tiny blip on the long-term graph. We need a sustained flattening of the curve,” Taalas said. 

The WMO leader contended that the Covid-19 pandemic does provide a platform for “more sustained and ambitious climate action” which may be transformative in the fight against climate change. “There is no time to lose,” he added. 

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