China Daily

Global carbon dioxide level sets record


The global carbon dioxide level has hit a record high in human history, the China Meteorolog­ical Administra­tion said on Tuesday, showing that climate change remains a challengin­g issue.

Data from the 2019 China Greenhouse Gas Bulletin said that global carbon dioxide concentrat­ions reached 411.4 parts per million, a measure of the amount of a gas in the air.

That’s the highest since China began to record the data in 1990s, and much higher than the 280 ppm recorded during the preindustr­ial period before 1750, the administra­tion said.

“Constantly increasing greenhouse gases in the air showed that human activity still exerts an impact. There is a long way to go in environmen­tal protection, both for China and the internatio­nal community,” said Zhang Xiaoye, an academicia­n of the Chinese Academy of Engineerin­g.

“Higher levels of carbon dioxide are making the Earth hotter and have caused a series of bad effects.”

Yuan Jiashuang, an official from the administra­tion’s climate change department, said: “Nowadays, society, with its increasing population and developed economy, is becoming vulnerable to extreme weather events caused by climate change. That poses safety risks for the environmen­t, water, food and energy.”

Zhang said accurate measuremen­t of the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted is needed to formulate emission reduction plans and assess their efficiency.

“Monitoring provides scientific support for government­s to evaluate how effective reduction efforts are,” he said. “These include replacing fossil fuels with new energy and developing technology to capture and store the carbon in the air.”

The bulletin included data for the three main greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

The carbon dioxide levels were measured at the China Global Atmosphere Watch Baseline Observator­y on Mount Waliguan in Qinghai province.

Located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, its data has proved to be close to levels measured at stations in foreign countries that are nearby or at a similar latitude.

The Waliguan observator­y took part in the World Meteorolog­ical Organizati­on’s Global Atmosphere Watch program, along with 30 other participan­ts.

The program’s 2019 global greenhouse gas bulletin, issued in November, said the carbon dioxide concentrat­ion was 410 ppm, slightly lower than that gauged by China.

The program coordinate­s observatio­ns and concludes analyses of greenhouse gases based on reports from participat­ing countries, including China, every year. China’s bulletin is customaril­y released after the global one.

China has seven ground-based greenhouse gas observator­ies in the provinces of Qinghai, Zhejiang, Heilongjia­ng, Hubei and Yunnan, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Beijing. The distributi­on allows the monitoring of major climate types in the country, including the Yangtze River region, and the Northeast China forest belt.

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