By Oisin Sweeney • 23 November 2020 • 12:36
SCIENTISTS have revealed that Covid lockdowns caused only a ‘tiny blip’ in greenhouse gas emissions.
Greenhouse gas levels hit new peaks in 2019 and continued to rise this year despite an expected drop due to Covid lockdown measures.
The UN’s World Meteorological Organisation, based in Geneva, warned against complacency and said that 2020’s temporary reduction in flights, car travel, and boat journeys merely amounted to a ‘tiny blip’ in emissions that were no bigger than ordinary annual fluctuations. ‘In the short-term, the impact of Covid-19 confinements cannot be distinguished from natural variability’ the WMO stated in their annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
The WMO monitors the atmosphere’s levels of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide which scientists believe are responsible for climate change. Carbon dioxide, the biggest contributor to the crisis, is caused by burning fossil fuels and in 2019 reached record levels. Making up 410.5 parts per million, the WMO said a figure this large had ‘never been seen in the history of our records’ and called for a ‘sustained flattening of the emissions curve’.
Data from the WMO’s research stations in Hawaii and Tasmania suggest that the trend of rising greenhouse gases is intact. They said that Covid restrictions did not cause Carbon Dioxide to decrease and only slowed its increase temporarily. Overall Covid measures briefly reduced carbon emissions by between 4.2 and 7.5%, a figure that the WMO says is nothing to be too positive about.
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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...
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