With 2020 came the highest global temperature on record and a bitter reminder of climate change and the catastrophic rise in global carbon dioxide levels.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a study on Thursday, revealing that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have not just crossed the crucial threshold of 400 parts per million (ppm) in 2017, but also surpassed 410 ppm in 2020!
The WMO report also said that 2020 was the fifth consecutive warmest year on record and the warmest since reliable records started being kept in 1850.
This is unsettling news and a cause of alarm for the entire world, which is why the warning system of a “critical threshold” was created to alert populations to the dire threat of climate change.
The warning system aims to identify and analyze planetary thresholds, beyond which point “irreversible and abrupt environmental changes” could occur (such as the collapse of ice sheets, loss of forests, and ocean acidification, among other things).
It has not been all doom and gloom though. Initiatives such as the Paris Agreement and the Clean Energy Package in the European Union have seen some success in slowing down the rate of increase of anthropogenic emissions – however, it is too little too late.
What the world needs right now is a more concerted effort, combining global endeavors to bring down carbon dioxide levels to a safe, sustainable level. The time to act is now!