‘Way off track’: Emissions levels hit new record in 2020 despite pandemic, Paris Accords

By Thomas Catenacci

Total global greenhouse gas emission levels hit a new record last year despite the pandemic-induced economic shutdowns and previous commitments from world leaders, the United Nations said.

“The abundance of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere once again reached a new record last year,” the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stated Monday morning after releasing its Greenhouse Gas Bulletin report.

While total emissions unsurprisingly hit a new record, however, the year-over-year increase between 2019-2020 was lower than the 2018-2019 increase, according to the report. Fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions, the largest contributor to greenhouse gas warming, dropped 5.6% last year compared to the year prior.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development characterized the COVID-19 pandemic’s positive effect on long-term environmental pressures “significant” in a May report.

But the 2020 increase was still higher than the average yearly increase between 2011-2020, the WMO reported.

“At the current rate of increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, we will see a temperature increase by the end of this century far in excess of the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement. “We are way off track.”

He added that the report should be a “stark” message for negotiators traveling to Glasgow for the upcoming UN climate summit. President Joe Biden is scheduled to travel to the conference on Nov. 1, the White House said.

The most recent major climate conference occurred in Paris more than five years ago and resulted in commitments from most UN member nations to reduce emissions. However, every country that set goals has failed to live up to their commitments except for The Gambia, a tiny nation in west Africa, the Associated Press reported.

Although UN leaders have billed the Glasgow conference as a vital step in curbing global warming, rising energy prices worldwide could pose a challenge for potential progress and commitments at the meetings.

The U.S. recently projected that heating costs could increase 54% this winter. Gasoline prices, meanwhile, reached a national average of $3.39 per gallon on Monday, according to a AAA database.

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Analogue Kid

2 thoughts on “‘Way off track’: Emissions levels hit new record in 2020 despite pandemic, Paris Accords

  1. Dem/Progs aim to use GLOBAL WARMING to justify for WALK-IN OPEN BORDERS and a huge expansion of SOCIALIST government programs, managed by CAREER Dem/Progs, a la SOCIALIST Bernie, to make government the PROVIDER, rather than a SUPPORTIVE ENABLER

    Moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) says the role of government should be “your best partner, not your provider.”

    Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Monday, Manchin said he’s concerned about expanding programs like Medicare through the reconciliation bill. He pointed out Medicare could become insolvent by 2026 and stressed lawmakers should act to stabilize the program before expanding it.

    Manchin asserted the government should only provide for people who are unable to provide for themselves.

    “If we’re not being fiscally responsible, that’s really concerning. But let me make one statement to you all. The best way to know who I am and I’ve always been politically, in my political life, I’ve always said, I believe that government should be your best partner,” said Manchin. “But it shouldn’t by your provider. We have a moral obligation to provide to those who have incapacity, such as physical or mental, but everyone else should be able to help and chip in and all that. So, that’s my mindset. So, we’re working all towards that. I think we understand each other better on those ideas.”

    Manchin also told reporters he believes Democrats could reach an agreement on the framework of the reconciliation bill sometime this week.

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