Greenhouse gas levels at new high, despite COVID-19 measures

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Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the main driver of climate change, hit record highs last year and have continued climbing this year, despite measures to halt the pandemic, the UN said Monday. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said lockdowns, border closures, flight groundings and other measures to rein in the coronavirus crisis had indeed cut emissions of many pollutants and greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. But it warned the industrial slowdown due to the pandemic had not curbed record concentrations of the greenhouse gases that are trapping heat in the atmosphere, raising temperatures, causing sea levels to rise and driving more extreme weather. “The lockdown-related fall in emissions is just a tiny blip on the long-term graph,” WMO chief Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

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