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.