Status: 10.01.2022 5:23 p.m.
The global warming trend continues: According to EU service Copernicus, the past seven years have been the hottest on earth since records began. There is an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the EU Earth observation program Copernicus, the past seven years have been the seven warmest on earth since records began in 1979. The year 2021 was therefore the fifth warmest since weather records began, the record continues to be held in 2016. Moreover, last summer was the warmest ever recorded since the late 1970s – just before the summers of 2010 and 2018.
The temperature of 48.8 degrees measured in Sicily stood out in particular. It was 0.8 degrees above the previous European record. The development shows that climate change is progressing, said the Copernicus scientists.
In addition, 2021 was shaped by extreme weather events – such as the floods, which hit Belgium and the Netherlands hard in addition to Germany in the summer. Forest fires raged again on the west coast of the USA and Canada, which not only devastated entire areas, but also massively deteriorated air quality.
“2021 was another year of extreme temperatures, with the hottest summer in Europe, heat waves in the Mediterranean, not to mention the unprecedented high temperatures in North America,” said EU Climate Change Service Director Carlo Buontempo. “These events are an urgent reminder of the need to change the way we live, to take decisive and effective steps towards a sustainable society and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
More methane in the atmosphere
Because in 2021 new highs for greenhouse gases were measured, which are due to human activities and are responsible for global warming, said Buontempo. The climate experts found out that the concentration of methane in the atmosphere in particular increased again last year.
Although this gas stays in the atmosphere for a shorter period of time, it is even more harmful than CO2 and is produced, for example, in agriculture, in landfills or in the oil and gas industry. “This is worrying,” said Vincent-Henri Peuch, director of the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service. More research is needed to explain the sharp rise and answer what is particularly responsible for it
Ambitious measures needed
According to the Copernicus data, the annual average temperature last year was 1.1 to 1.2 degrees higher than in the pre-industrial period. In the Glasgow Climate Pact, the United Nations reaffirmed in November that it wanted to stop global warming at 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times. So far, however, the states’ plans are nowhere near enough.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in a report last year that global warming of 1.5 degrees will likely be reached as early as 2030 – ten years earlier than forecast in 2018. Whether further warming can be prevented afterwards is also controversial in science. In any case, ambitious climate protection measures are necessary: Global greenhouse gas emissions should be halved by the end of this decade and reduced to zero by 2050.