New York Times: Carbon Dioxide in Atmosphere Hits Record High Despite Pandemic Dip. Global emissions dropped last year, but the decline wasn’t nearly enough to halt the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The amount of carbon dioxide piling up in Earth’s atmosphere set a record last month, once again reaching the highest levels in human history despite a temporary dip in the burning of fossil fuels worldwide caused by the coronavirus pandemic, scientists said Monday.
Scientific instruments atop the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii showed that levels of carbon dioxide in the air averaged 419 parts per million in May, the annual peak, according to two separate analyses from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Those readings are about half a percent higher than the previous high of 417 parts per million, set in May 2020. Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas driving global warming and researchers have estimated that there hasn’t been this much of it in the atmosphere for millions of years.