Dr. Keeling noted that last year’s drop in annual emissions was too small to be noticed in the atmospheric data, as it could be overshadowed by natural fluctuations in the carbon emissions of vegetation and soil due to seasonal changes in temperature and soil moisture. Scripps scientists have previously estimated that human emissions will have to fall by 20 percent to 30 percent for at least six months to significantly decrease the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
8 June 2021, 14:46 ET
And according to scientists, there is only one way to stop the total amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from growing: countries will have to essentially reduce their net annual emissions, mainly by switching from fossil fuels to cleaner technologies that do not emit carbon dioxide, such as electric motors powered by wind, solar or nuclear power.
Last month, the International Energy Agency issued a detailed roadmap for how all countries in the world could achieve zero-free emissions by 2050. The changes would be drastic, the agency found: Countries would have to stop building new coal plants immediately, sell petrol-powered vehicles by 2035 and install wind turbines and solar panels at an unprecedented rate.
If nations succeed in achieving this goal, they could limit global warming to about 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to the levels of the industrial sector. (The earth has warmed more than 1 degree Celsius since industrial times.) By doing so, mankind can avoid the worst effects of climate change, such as the irreversible collapse of ice sheets in the earth or widespread misoes.
But so far, the agency has warned, the world is not on track to achieve that goal. The total annual emissions are currently will rise at their second fastest pace ever this year as countries recover from the pandemic and global coal burning near its daily peak, led by an increase in industrial activity in Asia.
The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere currently varies over the course of a year by about 10 parts per million. It peaks every May before the seasonal growth of vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere, which has about two-thirds of the Earth’s land mass, is removed from the gas by photosynthesis.
The May average only reached 400 parts per million in 2014 – a milestone that drew global media coverage. Since then, emissions have continued to rise. The last annual average for 2019 was 409.8 parts per million, about 46 percent higher than the average before 280 of the industrial sector.