2020 Ties with 2016 as Hottest Year on Record (EU Climate Change Service)
London – The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) on Friday published data putting 2020 on par with 2016 as the hottest year on record, with most metrics continuing to deteriorate despite the coronavirus lockdowns.
At the same time, continental Europe saw its hottest year on record, clocking in at 0.4 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous warmest, 2019.
Although carbon dioxide emissions fell seven percent last year, concentrations of the greenhouse gas rose by 2.3 parts per million. This puts the maximum annual concentration at 413 parts per million, well above the 390 ppm recommended as the upper threshold.
Vincent-Henri Peuch, Director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, underscored that there is no clarity on the fact that the emissions drop was due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that such an eventuality was still no streak of good news.
“While carbon dioxide concentrations have risen slightly less in 2020 than in 2019, this is no cause for complacency … to what extent this was a factor in the lower total increase is debatable though, as the variations in global growth rate are dominated by natural processes. We must continue efforts to decrease CO2 net emissions to reduce the risk of climate-related change,” he said.
Western Siberia saw the greatest deviation from averages, with some locations recording a full six degrees Celsius above monthly average in the summer, according to the report.
Raging wildfires within Russia’s Arctic Circle unleashed a record 244 megatonnes of carbon dioxide, a full third more than the previous year, the service found.
Furthermore, July and October saw the lowest extent of Arctic sea ice in their respective months on record, C3S said.
Overall, 2020 was 0.6 degrees warmer than the standard 1981-2010 reference points and about 1.25 degrees warmer than the 1850-1900 pre-industrial period, the report said.
World leaders are set to meet in Glasgow in the fall of 2021 for COP26 to discuss performance on commitments made in the Paris Agreement and ideally renew vows to undertake radical climate action.