European scientists say 2021 was the fifth warmest year on record

The year of 2021 was the fifth warmest on record, as the levels of greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2 )) and methane in the atmosphere have reached new peaks, according to European Union scientists.

The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said in a report on Monday (10), that the last seven years were the warmest in the world, “by a sharp margin”, in records dating back to 1850, and the average global temperature in 2021 was 1.1 to 1.2°C above the levels of 1850 to 1900.

The warmest years already registered were 2016 and 2020.

The countries committed to the Agreement on Paris de 2015 trying to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5°C, a level that, according to scientists, would avoid the worst impacts. This would require emissions to be approximately halved by 2030, but so far they have increased.

As greenhouse gas emissions change the climate of the planet, the long-term warming trend continues. Climate change has exacerbated many extreme weather events that hit the world in 2021, from floods in Europe, China, South Sudan and Brazil to fires in Siberia and the United States.

“These events are a stark reminder of the need to change our habits, take decisive and effective measures towards a sustainable society and work to reduce net carbon emissions”, said the director of C3S, Carlo Buontempo.

Global levels of CO2 and methane, the main greenhouse gases, continued to rise, both reaching records in 2021. The levels of CO2 in the atmosphere reached 1850, 3 parts per million in 2021, an approximate increase of 2.4 ppm over 2020, the scientists said.

The C3S said that levels of methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas, have jumped in the last couple of years, but the reasons are still not fully understood. Methane emissions come from oil and gas production, agriculture and natural sources such as swamps.

There was a temporary drop in gas emissions in , at the beginning of the Covid pandemic-19.

European Peaks

Last summer was the hottest on record in Europe, C3S said, after a hot March and unusually cold April, which decimated fruit crops in countries like France and Hungary.

In July and August, a heat wave in the Mediterranean caused intense fires in countries like Turkey and Greece. Sicily had a new European temperature peak, with 200, 8 degrees, a record that awaits official confirmation.

In July, more than 300 people died when torrential rains caused deadly flooding in western Europe. Scientists concluded that climate change increased the probability of flooding by 300%.

Also in that month , floods in China’s Henan province killed more than 300 people. In California, a record-breaking heat wave was followed by the second largest wildfire in the state’s history, decimating land and worsening air pollution.

Translation by Luiz Roberto M. Gonçalves

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