EU: Overheating record for the last seven years, according to Copernicus

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The last seven years from 2015 to 2021 were “clean” the hottest ever recorded, confirming the progress of climate warming, with record concentrations of greenhouse gases, the European Earth observation agency Copernicus announced today.

2021 may not have been the fifth hottest year ever, but it ‘suffered’ the devastating effects of climate change: unusual and deadly heat waves in North America and Southern Europe, devastating wildfires in Canada or Siberia, impressive cold snap in the central United States or extreme flooding in China and Western Europe.

In 2021, according to Copernicus, temperatures averaged above 1.1-1.2 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era (1850-1900), a reference period for measuring the overheating caused by greenhouse gas emissions. due to human activity.

The goal of the Paris Agreement in 2015, to limit overheating “purely” below +2 degrees Celsius and if possible to +1.5 degrees Celsius, is therefore dangerously close.

On an annual average, 2021 ranks slightly ahead of 2015 and 2018, with 2016 remaining the hottest year.

And the last seven years “have been the hottest ever, by far,” the European Union said.

“This is a stark reminder of the need to change, to take effective and decisive action to move towards a sustainable society and to work to reduce carbon emissions,” said Carlo Buontebo, director of the Copernicus climate change service.

Because the service measured in 2021 new record concentrations in the atmosphere of greenhouse gases produced by human activity and responsible for overheating.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), by far the first responsible for overheating mainly from combustion of minerals and cement production, reached a record level of 414.3 ppm (parts per million), according to “preliminary” data of Copernicus.

“Nail on the coffin”

By 2020, despite a slowdown in pandemic activity, the World Meteorological Organization (OMM) had measured this concentration at 413.2 ppm, or 149% above pre-industrial levels.

Copernicus also tracks emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that is even more potent than carbon dioxide but remains less in the atmosphere, about 60% of which is man-made (ruminant farming, rice growing, waste, residues come from natural sources such as peatlands).

They also continued to “increase in 2021 (…) reaching an unprecedented average”, according to the European agency, which stressed, however, that the origin of this increase “is not fully understood”.

At the UN COP26 climate conference in November, some 100 countries joined an “initiative” to reduce methane emissions by 30%. A goal that could, if met, make the slogan heard at the Glasgow conference more realistic to “keep alive (his goal of 1.5 points)”.

Commitments to reduce emissions by various countries, including those announced on the occasion of COP26, are leading to a 2.7-degree Celsius orbit, a level described as “catastrophic” by the UN.

On the occasion of COP26, the OMM had already announced that the last seven years of 2015 would probably be the hottest ever recorded, warning that the global climate is entering “unknown territory” because of this event.

“It’s a new warning about what we’re doing on our planet and we desperately need real action to reduce emissions,” said Sir Brian Hoskins, director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London. that “it becomes difficult to say something new every time we see another nail being nailed to the coffin of the planet”.

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