Despite COVID-19-induced lockdowns around the world, methane levels in the atmosphere saw a record surge  during 2020, marking the biggest increase since records began in 1983.

What is Happening?

Lori Bruhwiler, physical scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the jump in methane levels was “fairly surprising- and disturbing,” adding that the exact reasons for the increase are not yet known. 

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“A warming planet could be causing more natural emissions of methane,” said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, an environmental charity based in Washington DC that focuses on short lived climate pollutants such as methane. 

Nisbet says, “I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know it was this bad. This breaks my heart.”