Greenhouse gas emissions rose at ‘alarming’ rate last year, US data shows

(The Guardian, 6 Apr 2023) Noaa report shows rapid increase in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

Record temperatures, devastating floods and superstorms are causing death and destruction across the planet but humans are failing to cut greenhouse gas emissions fueling the climate emergency, new US data shows.

Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide – the greenhouse gases emitted by human activity that are the most significant contributors to global heating – continued to increase rapidly during 2022, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).

Carbon dioxide levels rose by more than two parts per million (ppm) for the 11th consecutive year: the highest sustained rate of CO2 increases since monitoring began 65 years ago. Before 2013, scientists had never recorded three consecutive years of such high CO2 growth.

Atmospheric CO2 is now 50% higher than pre-industrial levels.

The 2022 methane rise was the fourth-largest since records began in 1983, following record growth in 2021 and 2022, and now stands at an average of 1,912 parts per billion (ppb). Methane is a potent greenhouse gas less abundant than CO2 but which warms the Earth’s atmosphere much faster, and today is responsible for about 25% of the heat trapped by all greenhouse gases.

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The Guardian, 6 Apr 2023: Greenhouse gas emissions rose at ‘alarming’ rate last year, US data shows