2021 was the 5th hottest year on record in the world, according to an EU study

by Kate Abnett

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Last year was the fifth hottest on record in the world, as levels of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, causing global warming, reached new highs in 2021, according to the European Scientific Department Copernicus on Climate Change (C3S).

Globally, 2021 was the fifth warmest year on record, with an average temperature 1.1 to 1.2 ° C above 1850-1900 levels. The past seven years have been the warmest on record in the world, “by a clear margin,” C3S said in a report released on Monday.

The long-term global warming trend has continued and record-breaking weather conditions swept the world last year, ranging from flooding in Europe, China and South Sudan, to wildfires in Siberia and the states. -United.

“These events are a stark reminder of the need to change our habits, to take decisive and effective measures in favor of a sustainable society and to work for the reduction of net carbon emissions”, declared Carlo Buontempo, director of C3S .

The hottest years on record were 2020 and 2016.

Global levels of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere – the main greenhouse gases – have continued to rise, peaking in 2021.


CO2 levels thus reached 414.3 parts per million (ppm) in 2021, an increase of about 2.4 ppm compared to 2020, according to C3S.

As for methane, C3S said levels have jumped over the past two years, but the reasons remain unclear. Methane emissions come from oil and gas production, agriculture and natural sources.

As a result, Europe experienced its hottest summer on record in 2021, after a hot March and exceptionally cold April decimated fruit crops in countries like France and Hungary.

In July and August, a Mediterranean heat wave caused intense forest fires in countries like Turkey and Greece. Sicily has even set a new European temperature record – which is awaiting official confirmation – of 48.8 ° C.

Also in California, a record-breaking heat wave was followed by the second-largest wildfire in state history.

In July, more than 200 people died in deadly floods in Western Europe, as well as in China in Henan province where 300 people died.

Scientists concluded that these events have been exacerbated by climate change and that other extreme events are likely to become more frequent or more severe in the future.

(Report Kate Abnet; French version Dina Kartit, edited by Jean-Michel Bélot)

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