top of page

Highest methane and CO2 emissions happened in 2021 amid global 7 year record-setting heat wave

The world is in the middle of a record-setting heat wave.

The last seven years were officially the warmest on record by a clear margin, according to the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).

And these chart-topping global temperatures are occurring while global greenhouse gas emissions have come racing back.

Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continued to rise during 2021, with carbon dioxide (CO2) levels reaching an annual global column-averaged record of approximately 414 ppm, and methane (CH4) an annual record of approximately 1876 ppb.

Globally, 2021 was the fifth-warmest year on record, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service. Overall, average temperatures were about 0.3 degrees above the 1991-2020 reference period and about 1.1 or 1.2 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels in 1850-1900.

These warming temperatures are occurring alongside what the service called "high-impact extreme events" across Europe during the summer of 2021.

July saw heavy rainfall leading to severe flooding in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. While in the Mediterranean, high temperatures led to intense and prolonged wildfires in Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Albania, North Macedonia, Algeria and Tunisia, the service reported in a statement.

"2021 was yet another year of extreme temperatures with the hottest summer in Europe, heatwaves in the Mediterranean, not to mention the unprecedented high temperatures in North America," said Carlo Buontempo, Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, in a statement. "The last seven years have been the seven warmest on record. These events are a stark reminder of the need to change our ways, take decisive and effective steps toward a sustainable society and work towards reducing net carbon emissions.”

Indeed, North America wasn't spared from higher temperatures and climate related disasters.

The second largest fire recorded in California’s history, the ‘Dixie Fire’, wreaked havoc on the state, and polluted the entire continent with fire-related pollutants.

In fact, this year was the worst year on record for pollution from wildfires for the entire North American continent, according to the European research.

“Carbon dioxide and methane concentrations are continuing to increase year on year and without signs of slowing down. These greenhouse gases are the main drivers of climate change," said Vincent-Henri Peuch, Director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, in a statement. "Only with determined efforts backed up by observational evidence can we make a real difference in our fight against the climate catastrophe.”


bottom of page