CO2 level in 2021 highest in human history

The file photo shows a wind power plant in Zhangjiakou, North China's Hebei province. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

The global carbon dioxide level has hit a record high, the China Meteorological Administration said on Monday, further demonstrating that climate change remains a global challenge.

Data from the 2021 China Greenhouse Gases Bulletin said that global carbon dioxide concentrations reached 417 parts per million, a measurement for the amount of a gas in the air. That's the highest since China began to record the data in the 1990s, and much higher than the 280 ppm recorded during the preindustrial period before 1750, the administration said.

The bulletin included data for the three main greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

The bulletin said methane concentrations in 2021 had risen significantly by 21 parts per billion compared with 2020.

"The law of climate change keeps changing in a way that goes beyond our understanding. Many new scientific issues and key technologies need to be tackled urgently," said Zhang Xingying, deputy head of the administration's science & technology and climate change department.

He said so in response to an announcement at the 2021 Leaders' Summit on Climate that China will tighten the control of other greenhouse gases apart from carbon dioxide.

Zhang said at a news conference on Monday that starting from 2023, the administration will double its annual funding to 90 million yuan ($13 million) for basic research on weather and climate change.

The funding was jointly set up by the administration and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

The greenhouse gas levels were measured at the China Global Atmosphere Watch Baseline Observatory on Mount Waliguan in Qinghai province.

Located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, its data has proved to be close to levels measured at stations overseas that are near or at a similar latitude.

The Waliguan observatory took part in the World Meteorological Organization's Global Atmosphere Watch program, along with 30 other participants.

The program's 2021 global greenhouse gases bulletin, issued in October, said the carbon dioxide concentration was 415.7 ppm, slightly lower than that gauged by China.

The program coordinates observations and concludes analyses of greenhouse gases based on reports from participating countries, including China, every year.

China's bulletin is customarily released after the global one.