The concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere peaked in May 2021.
The planet’s average carbon dioxide emissions in May was 419.13 ppm, or parts per million. That’s 1.82 ppm higher than May 2020 and 50% higher than the stable pre-industrial level of 280 ppm, said NOAA expert Peter Tans.
Carbon dioxide levels are noted to peak annually in May before massive blooms. And carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas for transportation and electricity are higher than what plants can absorb.
The main regulator of atmospheric CO2 is fossil fuel emissions. But we still have a long way to go to stop growth as more CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere every year. Ultimately, we need cuts that will be much larger and longer than in 2020.
Keeling Ralph, Head of the Scripps Program at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory
The 10-year average growth rate of emissions also set a record, now reaching 2.4 ppm per year.