cutting carbon web 1

Nature doing heavy lifting to slow carbon-dioxide rise

THE rate carbon-dioxide is being added to the atmosphere needs to slow by around 20% over the next five-year period if global warming is to be limited to 1.5°C, says the Met Office in its annual CO2 forecast, writes Grahame Madge.

The Met Office global carbon-dioxide forecast for 2022 was published yesterday (Tuesday).

Professor Richard Betts MBE, who leads the team behind the CO2 forecast, said: “Our 2022 forecast suggests that nature will temporarily be doing our ‘heavy lifting’ this year as ecosystems – such as tropical forests – are expected to draw down a higher proportion of carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere than usual.

“However, if the world is to meet ambitious targets within the Paris Agreement, the long-term build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere needs to slow rapidly and come to a halt before mid-century.

Human-induced emissions

“This would need an immediate slowing in the rate that human-induced carbon-dioxide emissions are added to the atmosphere, leading rapidly to a complete stop.

“A temporary boost from nature is obviously welcome, but we won’t get this free dividend in most years.”

In 1958 – when the first measurements were taken at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa observatory – the rate of annual rise of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere was less than one part per million (ppm).

The atmospheric concentration of CO2 was then about 316 ppm. The rate of rise has accelerated over 60 years and the rise over the last ten years has been nearly 2.5 ppm per year, with the atmospheric concentration reaching 416 ppm on average last year.


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