Carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas from human activities, increased by 2.8 ppm in 2023, reaching the third largest annual increase in history. Although this increase is not as significant as in 2014 and 2015, it surpasses all years since 1959. The average carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere in 2023 was 419.3 ppm; this was 50% higher than in the pre-industrial period.

Methane, a potent but shorter-lived greenhouse gas, also increased significantly in 2023. While last year’s 11.1-point increase falls short of the record increases seen between 2020 and 2022, it still represents a troubling trend. Methane concentrations have increased by 3 percent in the last five years alone and are now 160 percent above pre-industrial levels.

Researchers from NOAA and the University of Colorado point to microbial activity in wetlands, and possibly agriculture and landfills, as the main culprits for rising methane concentrations. While emissions from the energy sector appear to play a smaller role, the overall picture remains worrying.

Source: Ferra

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