WMO: “impact of the COVID-19 confinements [on CO2] cannot be distinguished from natural variability”

WMO Graph
Spot the blip – any impact on CO2 from the Covid-19 shutdown is all but lost in the noise of natural variation

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Proof that ongoing expensive CO2 reduction efforts are utterly futile. Green hopes that the Covid-19 lockdown would have a significant impact on global CO2 have been dashed.

Carbon dioxide levels keep rising despite industrial lockdown

World Meteorological Organization data crush hopes that lockdowns across the world would have pushed emissions to a record low.

Carbon dioxide levels hit new highs last year and are expected to keep growing in 2020, despite coronavirus-related restrictions that forced a global industrial slowdown.

The alarming patterns were published on Monday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), crushing hopes that lockdowns across the world would have pushed emissions, the main driver to climate change, to a record low.

The WMO said the change in carbon dioxide concentrations – the result of cumulative past and current emissions – is, in fact, no bigger than the normal year-to-year fluctuations in the carbon cycle and in the amount of carbon being soaked up by vegetation and oceans.

Read more: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/23/gas-emissions-expected-to-stay-steady-despite-covid-19-lockdowns

From the WMO;

Carbon dioxide levels continue at record levels, despite COVID-19 lockdown

23 November 2020
Press Release Number: 23112020

Geneva, 23 November 2020 (WMO) – The industrial slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has not curbed record levels of greenhouse gases which are trapping heat in the atmosphere, increasing temperatures and driving more extreme weather, ice melt, sea-level rise and ocean acidification, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The lockdown has cut emissions of many pollutants and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. But any impact on CO2 concentrations – the result of cumulative past and current emissions – is in fact no bigger than the normal year to year fluctuations in the carbon cycle and the high natural variability in carbon sinks like vegetation.

Carbon dioxide levels saw another growth spurt in 2019 and the annual global average breached the significant threshold of 410 parts per million, according to the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The rise has continued in 2020. Since 1990, there has been a 45% increase in total radiative forcing – the warming effect on the climate – by long-lived greenhouse gases, with CO2 accounting for four fifths of this.

“Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for centuries and in the ocean for even longer. The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now. But there weren’t 7.7 billion inhabitants,” said WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas.

“We breached the global threshold of 400 parts per million in 2015. And just four years later, we crossed 410 ppm. Such a rate of increase has never been seen in the history of our records. The lockdown-related fall in emissions is just a tiny blip on the long-term graph. We need a sustained flattening of the curve,” said Prof Taalas.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is not a solution for climate change. However, it does provide us with a platform for more sustained and ambitious climate action to reduce emissions to net zero through a complete transformation of our industrial, energy and transport systems.  The needed changes are economically affordable and technically possible and would affect our everyday life only marginally. It is to be welcomed that a growing number of countries and companies have committed themselves to carbon neutrality,” he said. “There is no time to lose.”

  CO2     Methane Nitrous oxide
2019 global mean abundance 410.5±0.2 ppm 1877±2 ppb 332.0±0.1 ppb
2019 abundance relative to year 1750a 148% 260% 123%
2018-19 absolute increase 2.6 ppm 8 ppb 0.9 ppb
2018-19 relative increase 0.64% 0.43% 0.27%
Mean annual absolute increase of last 10 years 2.37 ppm yr-1 7.3 ppb yr-1 0.96 ppb yr-1

2020 Trends

The Global Carbon Project estimated that during the most intense period of the shutdown, daily CO2 emissions may have been reduced by up to 17% globally due to the confinement of the population. As the duration and severity of confinement measures remain unclear, the prediction of the total annual emission reduction over 2020 is very uncertain.

Preliminary estimates indicate a reduction in the annual global emission between 4.2% and 7.5%. At the global scale, an emissions reduction this scale will not cause atmospheric CO2 to go down. CO2 will continue to go up, though at a slightly reduced pace (0.08-0.23 ppm per year lower). This falls well within the 1 ppm natural inter-annual variability. This means that on the short-term the impact of the COVID-19 confinements cannot be distinguished from natural variability, according to the Bulletin.

New records in 2019 

The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin – one of WMO’s flagship reports – provides details on atmospheric abundance of the main long-lived greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

The Bulletin is based on observations and measurements from WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch and partner networks, which includes atmospheric monitoring stations in remote Polar regions, high mountains and tropical islands. These stations have continued to function despite COVID-19 restrictions hampering resupplies and rotation of staff in often harsh and isolated locations.

Atmospheric radiative forcing, relative to 1750, of long-loved greenhouse gases and the 2019 update of the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index


Carbon dioxide is the single most important long-lived greenhouse gas in the atmosphere related to human activities, contributing about two thirds of the radiative forcing. The annual globally averaged level of carbon dioxide was about 410.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2019, up from 407.9 parts ppm in 2018, having crossed the 400 parts per million benchmark in 2015. The increase in CO2 from 2018 to 2019 was larger than that observed from 2017 to 2018 and also larger than the average over the last decade.

Emissions from combustion of fossil fuels and cement production, deforestation and other land-use change pushed 2019 atmospheric CO2 to 148% of the pre-industrial level of 278 ppm, which represented a balance of fluxes among the atmosphere, the oceans and the land biosphere. During last decade about 44% of CO2 remained in the atmosphere, while 23% was absorbed by the ocean and 29% by land, with 4% unattributed.

The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin is based on global average figures for 2019. Individual stations have shown that the upward trend continues in 2020. Monthly Average CO2 concentrations at the benchmark station of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, were 411.29 ppm in September 2020, up from 408.54 ppm in September 2019. At Cape Grim in Tasmania (Australia), the respective figures were 410.8 ppm in September 2020, up from 408.58 ppm in 2019.

Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas which remains in the atmosphere for less than a decade, was 260% of pre-industrial levels in 2019 at 1 877 parts per billion. The increase from 2018 to 2019 was slightly lower than that observed from 2017 to 2018 but still higher than the average over the last decade.

Methane contributes about 16% of the radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases. Approximately 40% of methane is emitted into the atmosphere by natural sources (e.g., wetlands and termites), and about 60% comes from anthropogenic sources (e.g., ruminants, rice agriculture, fossil fuel exploitation, landfills and biomass burning).

Nitrous Oxide, which is both a greenhouse gas and ozone depleting chemical, reached  332.0 parts per billion in 2019, or 123% above pre-industrial levels. The increase from 2018 to 2019 was also lower than that observed from 2017 to 2018 and practically equal to the average growth rate over the past 10 years.

Several other gases are also presented in the Bulletin, including the ozone depleting substances regulated under the Montreal protocol.

WMO Graph

Notes for Editors

The WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Programme coordinates systematic observations and analysis of greenhouse gases and other atmospheric constituents. Greenhouse gas measurement data are archived and distributed by the World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases (WDCGG) at the Japan Meteorological Agency which celebrates its 30thanniversary in 2020.

A separate and complementary Emissions Gap Report by UN Environment will be released on 9 December. The Emissions Gap report assesses the latest scientific studies on current and estimated future greenhouse gas emissions; they compare these with the emission levels permissible for the world to progress on a least-cost pathway to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. This difference between “where we are likely to be and where we need to be” is known as the emissions gap.

The Global Carbon Project will release its annual update of the global carbon budget and trends in December.

The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water

For further information contact: Clare Nullis, media officer. Email cnullis@wmo.int. Cell 41797091397

Source: https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/carbon-dioxide-levels-continue-record-levels-despite-covid-19-lockdown

What kind of extreme lockdown would be required to level the curve? No nation would tolerate the medieval privations which would be required to significantly change the trajectory of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Greens have repeatedly suggested that the Covid-19 lockdown is a trial run for the coming climate lockdown. I suspect greens were hoping the CO2 curve would respond to the Covid-19 lockdown in a way they could present as proof that a viable path to a dramatically lower CO2 trajectory was within reach.

But now we’ve all seen proof that the kind of extreme cutbacks greens are proposing as part of a permanent solution to climate change don’t make a lot of difference.

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November 24, 2020 2:26 pm

Once again, Willis Eschenbach is correct (see “Locking down See Oh Too” (WUWT: November 10, 2020)-
“ Conclusions.
My main conclusion is that despite the huge, almost incalculable cost of the lockdowns,the change in the rate of increase of CO2 is lost in the noise…..which certainly doesn’t prove anything either way about whether the increase is human caused.
My other conclusion is that this should give great pause to those who are blithely recommending restructuring of the global economy to replace fossil fuels…. look at the real world costs of the lockdowns around you and look at the meaningless CO2 benefits in the graph above.Not worth doing on any planet.”

Reply to  Herbert
November 24, 2020 4:52 pm

They were never expecting to see the signal, human emissions, their answer goes like this.
Problem human emission 30GT natural emissions 750GT … the only way they build the alarm case is have the CO2 hang around for 100 years and then make the human CO2 molecules special and account for them differently all of which the IPCC does. So for them if you had 0 emissions today the CO2 levels don’t come back to todays level until year 70 from now so no you won’t see it on a 1 year shutdown you need a 70 year shutdown. So they would say it’s is vindication of their model.

There is a more problematic answer which is forbidden to discuss within the stupidity of climate science that the natural emissions are increasing or natural sinks are decreasing.

Reply to  LdB
November 24, 2020 6:34 pm

And it only takes a small % change in those NATURAL emissions, to totally SWAMP any human contribution.

Reply to  fred250
November 24, 2020 8:14 pm

So the solution is simple.

We must destroy Nature in order to save it.

Andrew Lale
Reply to  MarkG
November 25, 2020 10:11 am

Gets my vote. Allez le bulldozers.

Reply to  fred250
November 25, 2020 12:36 pm

So where is the “barely visible” change? I can’t see it.

There was more outgassing from the oceans during strong El Nino years: 97/98 and 2016. The current bump looks just like any of the other bumps in between those two dates.

So we are supposed to do not just the same but even more of the same each year every year ?

At least we now see what they are really trying to sell us.

Reply to  Herbert
November 24, 2020 8:14 pm

Perhaps it is the Red/Greens solutions that are causing CO2 emissions and the Nitrous Oxides, as well? After all, no solar plants were shut down during the COVID Lockdowns.

Duke Energy application points finger at solar for increased pollution

…“After committing $2 billion in tax credits, and more than $1 billion in electricity overpayments for solar power, we now learn from Duke that nitrogen oxides have actually increased, and that CO2 may be headed in the wrong direction.”

Carl Friis-Hansen
November 24, 2020 2:31 pm

Just hope the Green elite will accept the findings considering it comes from their warmist friend, the WMO.

On the other hand, the Greens appear to be unaffected by facts.

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
November 24, 2020 3:15 pm

No, doesn’t match the narrative, the truth is, the CO2 decrease is hidden, the data are wrong, because it can’t have been in vain.

Lorne Newell
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
November 25, 2020 12:31 am

Just hope the Green elite will accept the findings considering it comes from their warmist friend, the WMO.

Good luck with that

November 24, 2020 2:47 pm

Therefore rising CO2 levels cannot be caused by human activity. Therefore if rising temperatures are correlated with increasing CO2, temperatures aren’t caused by human industrial activity.

November 24, 2020 2:51 pm

Lockdowns x 10 will do it.

Reply to  Scissor
November 25, 2020 10:58 am

Not enough. I want to get back to 1250 not just 1750. So I will double your lockdowns


November 24, 2020 3:02 pm

Does this mean that Natural Variability isn’t science denial?

November 24, 2020 3:04 pm

“Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for centuries and in the ocean for even longer. The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now.”
Wrong on both counts!
Human emissions hardly change atmospheric CO2. Read “Climate Miracle” and it has an e-fold time of about 4-7 years. Multiple sources show CO2 concentration as high as today in the last 10K years.

Reply to  DMA
November 24, 2020 4:48 pm


I recommend Ed Berry’s new book “Climate Miracle: There is no climate crisis Nature controls climate”

My review:

5 Stars.

An excellent, readable book that destroys the scary global warming / climate hypothesis.

Reviewed in Canada on November 11, 2020
Verified Purchase


Author Dr. Edwin Berry demolishes the IPCC’s very-scary catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis. Ed proves from basic principles that the growth of CO2 in the atmosphere is primarily natural, not man-made. Berry’s analysis is consistent with my 2008 publication that atmospheric CO2 cannot significantly drive temperature, because changes in CO2 lag temperature changes in the modern data record, as they do in the longer-term ice core record. Kuo et al (1990) and Keeling (1995) made similar observations in the journal Nature, but have been studiously ignored by global warming propagandists. “The future cannot cause the past.”

Joe Zeise
November 24, 2020 6:41 pm

AM, I’ve followed your comments for a long time, and this one was also spot on. I’ve also followed Ed’s site and agree. CO2, at .0415% of the global atmosphere, does not control the global atmospheric temperature. I ask James Hansen, Al Gore, Greta, AOC, and many others including, Joe Biden again, where is the scientific evidence that atmospheric CO2 is the main controller of the temperature? Even the established Green Brigade including Michael Moore with “Planet of the Humans, Michael Schellenberg with “Apocalypse Never” have perhaps come to their senses. Again, nice comment Allan.

Reply to  Joe Zeise
November 25, 2020 8:18 pm

Think that’s .000415% a tree gas, unless I’m missing something. At .0415%, that’s 41,500ppm

Reply to  Panickyzen
November 25, 2020 8:20 pm

.000415% a TRACE gas.

Joe Zeise
Reply to  Panickyzen
November 26, 2020 7:11 am

Pan.. I believe 415 PPM is a ratio of 415/1000000,, or as a decimal, 0.000415. As a percent that would be expressed as .0415%, is that not correct?

Chris Hanley
November 24, 2020 3:09 pm

“Carbon dioxide levels continue at record levels, despite COVID-19 lockdown”.
That is only the raw data as yet to be corrected.

Steve Taylor
November 24, 2020 3:14 pm

May want to edit “Atmospheric radiative forcing, relative to 1750, of long-loved greenhouse gases and the 2019 update of the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index”

I THINK that should be long-lived….

Reply to  Steve Taylor
November 24, 2020 6:37 pm

Plants have always LUV’d CO2 emissions. 🙂

Andrew Lale
Reply to  Steve Taylor
November 25, 2020 10:14 am

Me love your greenhouse gases long time.

Rod Evans
November 24, 2020 3:15 pm

Ahh!! Stopping human industrial processes that produce CO2, makes no difference to global levels of Co2. It carries on growing regardless of what we do?
Perhaps we should engage a new strategy. Let all processes that produce and increase CO2 in the atmosphere party on and increase their efforts. That should bring the CO2 count tumbling down according to the Green logic we are seeing currently. Actually bin that last sentence there is no such thing as Green logic there is just green dogma.
Throw another prawn of the barbie.

Glenn Vinson
November 24, 2020 3:17 pm

Remember that the war on CO2 is not about CO2, its about control. If the CO2 levels does not respond to the China Virus shutdown, they will continue their well-funded attacks on the Western economies. I would expect the CO2 levels to be adjusted the way NOAA did the CONUS temperature records.

Peta of Newark
November 24, 2020 3:29 pm

Yes, industry, travel, aviation may have shut down but..

Tillage, ploughing, paddy fielding, lo-till, (nitrogen) fertiliser use, slashing burning, forest/bog.moss drainage al Did Not Shut Down
Considerable numbers would starved and huge numbers would be currently be starving to death had those things shut down
Did they?
Are they?

YMMV but I (me, the handsome one in the mirror) would *not* put those things down to ‘Natural Variation’
What I’ve been saying on here since I first ever was allowed to comment.

Read all about it in David Montgomery’s book: Dirt: The Erosion of Civilisation

Even worse, a double whammy.
The tillage is what’s causing the observed twitching of thermometers but also, the consumption of the (fake haha) food that comes from the tilled soil is what’s causing the current train-wrecks that are science, politics, social & mainstream media

Sugar (cooked starch) destroys everything – minds, brains, bodies & souls and as we see, The Planet
Even before you top it off with alcohol and cannabis

We really are in a LOT of trouble here
I suppose that arguing about phlogiston and discussing the Emperor’s Clothes does distract somewhat.
But that’s all……

Reply to  Peta of Newark
November 24, 2020 8:09 pm

Peta of Newark,

“In the long run, the greatest weapon of mass destruction is stupidity.”
Thomas Sowell

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Peta of Newark
November 25, 2020 10:58 am

Perhaps at a time of thanksgiving no less, a bit of caution will suit a balanced view of the quality of life that most of us have enjoyed beyond any levels formerly known only by royalty. Thus we might temper one more cause for panic by noting that despite all the processing of originally harvested foodstuffs, average longevity in the developed world has increased an unprecedented 50% over the past century. And anyone who has experienced an insulin overdose can assure you that the brain that registers all such verities obligately relies upon an adequate blood sugar level for which there are simply no alternative fuels, in a dependence even more rigorous than our recent prosperity from fossil fuel use. Anyway I’ll understand if you decline either a slice of pumpkin pie tomorrow or of my birthday cake that by now bears up under such a profusion of annual candles.

Gary Pearse
November 24, 2020 3:47 pm

“Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for centuries”

The crenulated trace of the CO2 curve and the lack of a discernible Covid effect on the curve shows a couple of things:

1) that CO2 is readily pulled out of the atmosphere in days and weeks by spring/summer plant growth, largely from the magnitude of NH growth and pulling back.
2 this informs us that the Great Global Greening (and ocean plankton increase), which is an exponential process, similarly is affecting the trajectory of the curve more and more – could it not logically flatten the curve during coming even with business as usual ff burning at some equilibrium between emmissions and sequestration?
3) that with the global lockdown showing no detectable blip in the curve, the human caused CO2 emissions we are planning to eliminate would reduce partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere, stimulating increased out-gassing from the ocean.
4) there likely is a dampening feedback effect on bacterial growth with atmospheric rise in CO2. It’s removal could well stimulate increased bacterial activity.

Le Châtelier’s Principle acts in exactly these ways, resisting imposed changes, either in increasing CO2 or in reducing it. The more variables in, and complexity of the system processes, the more degrees of freedom Monsieur Le Châtelier has to confound puny intentions. Ask an activist climate scientist if he is aware of this powerful principle.

LCP is also busy resisting ocean “acidification”!

Bill Parsons
Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 25, 2020 10:10 pm

A comment below suggests that China did not really shut down. That is not accurate.

The orbiting CO2 observer OCO2 satellite https://www.nas.nasa.gov/SC20/demos/demo24.html#demo-1 shows the relative amounts of CO2 produced by each of the four main industrial areas of the world from January through August in: U.S., Western Europe, Russia and China. The anomalous decline of CO2 during the last year is shown against the averages in each of those countries over the last four years.

When the Chinese first became aware of the epidemic spreading out of Wuhan, the government shut down travel in and out of that city. That was around the end of January. Over the next three months, as their lockdown was deepened and extended into May, June and July, their CO2 production declined by .3 ppm.

The drop in CO2 due to industrial and travel inactivity is comparable in each of the four areas. U.S. anomaly also dipped more than .3 ppm in April and June. Russia’s contraction seems to have been the most pronounced, as it’s CO2 production declined .6 ppm in June before leveling at – .3. W. Europe’s CO2 production is – .5 going into August, the lowest of all the areas.

The breadth and depth of China’s national shut-down, which was covered extensively in all the papers here in the U.S., is born out by a corresponding decline in GDP. Quarterly figures released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics show China GDP averaging about 6.5 % going into the pandemic, but dropping to – 6.8 % in first quarter of 2020. Unlike Western countries, China has recovered to 3.2 and 4.9 % quarterly growth in the last two quarters. This does not lessen the draconian nature of China’s shut-down. By April half its citizens were under orders to stay at home. All city-to-city transportation networks were cut as was international air travel. The streets were virtually empty in many photos of the country.

The point of this is to remind us that, China, the second largest economy in the world, did indeed shut down during it’s own pandemic, making Earth’s “experiment”, such as it was, complete and unique in modern industrial history. It’s inconceivable that there will ever be another opportunity to gauge the effects of such a massive contraction of all human industry and its concomitant “pollution” by CO2. And what did it show?

There was no measurable decline in atmospheric CO2 beyond the expected seasonal bottom of the Keeling curve. The new U.S. administration and its leftist ambitions premise their favorite meme on the deadly rise of CO2. No more elegant proof need be provided that they are promoting a fiction.

Steve Case
November 24, 2020 3:48 pm

Carbon dioxide is the single most important long-lived greenhouse gas in the atmosphere related to human activities, contributing about two thirds of the radiative forcing

That’s 100% bullshit. Once again, water vapor is ignored. As if the phrase “long-lived” means something. As if water vapor isn’t constantly replaced. This is one of many big lies and bullshit that the climate mafia regurgitates over and over again.

Reply to  Steve Case
November 24, 2020 4:55 pm

As usual Steve, you are correct.

As my gigantic Polish friend Dr Tadeuz used to say, “Vere do zey get zese IDIOTS?”

Louis Hunt
Reply to  Steve Case
November 24, 2020 5:12 pm

Don’t human activities, such as farming, irrigation, damming of rivers, etc., affect the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere? How could carbon dioxide contribute “two thirds of the radiative forcing” when water vapor is a much more powerful GHG? Apparently, if they don’t know how to measure the human influence on water vapor, it must be totally ignored.

Reply to  Steve Case
November 24, 2020 5:45 pm

Beat me to it. I saw red when I read that.

November 24, 2020 4:17 pm

You must remember that the purpose of the alarmist has never been about reducing CO2; it has always been about destroying capitalism. Why is communist China always given a free pass by the majority of the alarmist? Because it already has the type of government these people want. The COVID-19 lockdowns are based on lies just like the climate change narrative.

These lockdown and mask mandates have never ever been about your health or saving grandma (P.S. Grandpa doesn’t count, apparently.) I have been convinced since April it was always about retraining people to accept more government control and less liberty, with a secondary goal of removing the non-politician, non-globalist Donald Trump. It is amazing how many state governors are issuing un-Constitutional mask mandates with no pushback. My governor just decreed when masks may be worn inside my private property, a clear violation of the 4th and 5th Amendment.

November 24, 2020 4:32 pm

Australia had a large release of CO2 last summer (2019/20) because of bushfires. Large areas coming out of draughts and moving from El Nino to La Nina and forrest recovery to see large amounts of CO2 absorbed over the next 2 years in our region. Although car & plane travel has reduced in most areas, many factories & domestic use has continued. Overall, the reductions from lockdowns have not been globally significant “Preliminary estimates indicate a reduction in the annual global emission between 4.2% and 7.5%.”
We would need 50 to 60% reduction to flatten the curve. The impact of same or more CO2 on temperatures & climate are still debatable. Filtering the natural noise and cycles of climate can make anything appear you want.

November 24, 2020 4:39 pm

What would Inspector Clouseau do if his prime suspect had an ironclad alibi?

Maybe Biden’s new ‘Climate Czar” John Kerry and the IPCC (really Clouseau and Cato in clever disguise) will devise a clever plan that will keep us amazed at their – you know, the thing . . .

November 24, 2020 4:41 pm

About 57% of atmospheric CO2 coming from the oceans and 38% from animal respiration, all that is really left from an industrial contraction is guaranteed to be lost in the noise. Societies did not cease to exist. Only zealots would expect a significant result.

November 24, 2020 4:42 pm

stupid…that’s because the lock down didn’t effect the main emitters

china didn’t lock down

Somehow China gets blamed for nothing….and all the countries that are in direct competition with China are the sole fault…have to destroy their economies

November 24, 2020 4:50 pm

I feel like if a super intelligent alien swung by our galaxy, they would say “it’s the ocean stupid”

Reply to  res
November 24, 2020 10:06 pm

I’d be more willing to bet that they would turn around and leave will telling those on the home planet that “There’s no intelligent life here.”

Reply to  res
November 25, 2020 3:31 am

I recall Ed Caryl’s post a few years ago on NTZ


linking most of the changes to degrees K of the sea, (not citizens burning )

November 24, 2020 4:56 pm

As usual Steve, you are correct.

As my gigantic Polish friend Dr Tadeuz used to say, “Vere do zey get zese IDIOTS?”

November 24, 2020 5:17 pm

“The Great Reset” …… a Marxist ploy to control Western civilization coming to your country soon …. makes specific reference to Covid #19 as proof we can live comfortably without cars, bars, restaurants, movie theaters, concerts, etc. It’s like an extension of the GND and is the brainchild of the World Economic Forum (Davos) elite movers and shakers. It suggests we/West should learn to live without and give our excess to underdeveloped countries to raise their standard of living. Kind of an Agenda 21 redux. Like the Paris Disagreement it shames Capitalism as the root of all evil.

November 24, 2020 5:19 pm

What more proof do you need that further lockdowns are needed.

Clyde Spencer
November 24, 2020 6:03 pm
November 24, 2020 7:56 pm

“The industrial slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has not curbed record levels of greenhouse gases which are trapping heat in the atmosphere, increasing temperatures and driving more extreme weather, ice melt, sea-level rise and ocean acidification, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).”

It just hit me that starting with “record levels”, the statement is seen everywhere AGWers are to be found from the media to governments to “scientific orgs. and beyond. It has become like a favorite bible verse at the start page in religious publications or a favorite quote in publications of any group on a mission. The issue is that all other publications favorite mantras probably have some to a lot of truth in them while with the AGWers and their mantra, it contains no truth and only contains provable lies.
Personally, I am very tired of reading the AGWers’ Big Lie. I wish they would just stop.
I know, I know, I might as well wish for world peace or for a unicorn for Christmas.

Bjarne Bisballe
November 24, 2020 10:29 pm

according to Wijngaarden & Happer (this year) forcing per extra molecule added is 31 times larger for CH4 than for CO2, so 8 ppb extra CH4 a year make the samme forcing as 0.25 ppm CO2 and that is 10% of 2.5 ppm CO2 – not 16% as mentioned.

Robert Balic
November 25, 2020 12:27 am

“now we’ve all seen proof that the kind of extreme cutbacks greens are proposing as part of a permanent solution to climate change don’t make a lot of difference”

Zero response in a sad excuse for scientific data is not proof.

November 25, 2020 12:36 am

Eric Worral,

It is not news that annual CO2 emissions from human activities have no relationship to annual change in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

For decades I have been pointing out that if the extra CO2 emission of human origin was the only emission, then in some years, almost all of it seems to be absorbed into the sinks, and in other years almost none.

Accounting differences and errors probably account for some of this discrepancy. For example, if a record of some national CO2 emission is delayed from one year to the next then the total global CO2 emission from human activity will be lowered in the first of those years and increased in the other year. However, all such problems would be overcome by a three-year running mean of the annual data.

The IPCC uses a FIVE-year running mean to the data because that is the amount of smoothing required to obtain agreement between the global CO2 emission from human activity and the rise of atmospheric CO2 predicted by its carbon cycle model (the Bern model).

In 2008 at the first Heartlands Climate Conference I expanded on findings in one of our papers published in 2005 (ref. Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005) ).

I then said,

“This presentation reports attribution studies that have used three different models to emulate the causes of the rise of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere in the twentieth century. These numerical exercises are a caution to estimates of future changes to the atmospheric CO2 concentration. The three models used in these exercises each emulate different physical processes and each agrees with the observed recent rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration. They each demonstrate that the observed recent rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration may be solely a consequence of the anthropogenic emission or may be solely a result of, for example, desorption from the oceans induced by the temperature rise that preceded it. Furthermore, extrapolation using these models gives very different predictions of future atmospheric CO2 concentration whatever the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Each of the models in this paper matches the available empirical data without use of any ‘fiddle-factor’ such as the ‘5-year smoothing’ the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) uses to get its model to agree with the empirical data.

So, if one of the six models of this paper is adopted then there is a 5:1 probability that the choice is wrong. And other models are probably also possible. And the six models each give a different indication of future atmospheric CO2 concentration for the same future anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide.

Data that fits all the possible causes is not evidence for the true cause. Data that only fits the true cause would be evidence of the true cause. But the above findings demonstrate that there is no data that only fits either an anthropogenic or a natural cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Hence, the only factual statements that can be made on the true cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration are

(a) the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration may have an anthropogenic cause, or a natural cause, or some combination of anthropogenic and natural causes,


(b) there is no evidence that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration has a mostly anthropogenic cause or a mostly natural cause.

Hence, using the available data it cannot be known what if any effect altering the anthropogenic emission of CO2 will have on the future atmospheric CO2 concentration. This finding agrees with the statement in Chapter 2 from Working Group 3 in the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report (2001) that says; “no systematic analysis has published on the relationship between mitigation and baseline scenarios”.(9)””

And I explained those findings saying,

“”Figures 1 and 6 provide an apparent paradox. The annual anthropogenic emission of CO2 should relate to the annual increase of CO2 in the atmosphere if one is causal of the other but Figure 1 shows these two parameters do not correlate. However, Figure 6 shows that – using each of these different models – we were able to model the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere as being a function solely of the annual anthropogenic emission of CO2. It is important to note that we did not use any ‘fiddle factors’ such as the 5-year-averageing used by the IPCC (that cannot be justified because there is no known physical mechanism that would have such effect).

The apparent paradox is resolved by consideration of the calculated equilibrium CO2 concentration values, Ce. These are shown in Figure 7. Each model indicates that the calculated CO2 concentration for the equilibrium state in each year is considerably above the observed values. This demonstrates that each model indicates there is a considerable time lag required to reach the equilibrium state when there is no accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. In other words, one has to reckon with a considerable time lag to reach the equilibrium state Fa = 0 when Fin increases to a certain value with increasing Fem.

As Figure 2 shows, the short term sequestration processes can easily adapt to sequester the anthropogenic emission in a year. But, according to these models, the total emission of that year affects the equilibrium state of the entire system. Some processes of the system are very slow with rate constants of years and decades. Hence, the system takes decades to fully adjust to the new equilibrium. And Figure 6 shows the models predicting the atmospheric CO2 concentration slowly rising in response to the changing equilibrium condition that is shown in Figure 7.”

And in that presentation I also said ,

“Qualitative consideration of the carbon cycle suggests the carbon cycle cannot be very sensitive to relatively small disturbances such as the present anthropogenic emissions of CO2. However, the system could be quite sensitive to temperature. Indeed, the considerations suggest that the relatively large increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere in the twentieth century is likely to have been caused by the increased mean temperature that preceded it. The main cause may be desorption from the oceans. The observed time lag of half a century is not surprising. Assessment of this conclusion requires a quantitative model of the carbon cycle, but such a model cannot be constructed because the rate constants are not known for mechanisms operating in the carbon cycle.”

That is important because recent work by Ed Berry provides a solution to the problem of needing to know the rate constants for individual mechanisms. That solution is a breakthrough in understanding which I and all others failed to make. The book by Ed Berry is commended by Allan MacRae above at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/11/24/wmo-the-covid-19-lockdown-had-very-little-impact-on-global-co2/#comment-3133163 .


November 25, 2020 2:49 am

“No nation would tolerate the medieval privations which would be required to significantly change the trajectory of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.”

No nation indeed, but ask Klaus from the World Economic Forum.

November 25, 2020 4:26 am

In keeping with previous events that have cast doubt / eviscerated / falsified AGW theory, expect a ‘peer-reviewed rebuttal paper’ to be rushed out by early spring.

It’ll be ‘comprehensive’, ‘authoritative’ and ‘definitive, and shall ‘demonstrating beyond doubt that the total failure of CO2 to do as its told in line with AGW theory doesn’t cast doubt on the sacred AGW theory, let alone disprove it at all’.

November 25, 2020 6:56 am

“CO2 emissions may have been reduced by up to 17%… will not cause atmospheric CO2 to go down.”

The WMO’s admission is an understatement. The IPCC claims that the CO2 increase in the atmosphere is due to man’s emissions. What matters isn’t the annual average that the WMO describes, but the increase during the period when man’s emissions were reduced. Not only was the CO2 increase during the 2020 lockdown (when man’s emissions were smaller by about 20%) not reduced, the CO2 increase then was actually greater than it was during 2019 (when man’s emissions were larger).


The contradiction indicates that whatever role man’s emissions play in rising CO2, it must be small.

Richard M
November 25, 2020 7:37 am

Another thing to keep in mind is that increases in ocean salinity lead to both increases in temperature (caused by less evaporation) and increases in outgassing of CO2 (fresher water holds more CO2). Hence, a lot is explained by a simple increase in ocean salinity.

Both of these are due to the basic physics of good old H2O.

In Figure 2 of Thirumalai et al (2018) you can see increases in salinity match closely the increases in SSTs. SSTs match well with the temperature of the mixed layer of the oceans. While this does not show all of the oceans of the planet it does show how temperature and salinity correlate.


What causes changes in salinity over long periods of time is very likely the large insertions of fresh water from glacial melting at the beginning of interglacial periods. This creates parts of the oceans that have different salinity features. As the overturning of the oceans occur these features are alternately brought to the surface affecting both the temperature and CO2 levels.

A very simple explanation for long term variations in temperature which are evident during the Holocene. Occam’s Razor comes to mind.

November 25, 2020 8:35 am

“CO2 will continue to go up, though at a slightly reduced pace (0.08-0.23 ppm per year lower). This falls well within the 1 ppm natural inter-annual variability.”

This is the key sentence. Based on the standard carbon cycle models, a reduction of 4.2 to 7.5% of one year’s emissions gets you 0.08 to 0.23 ppm of reduction relative to business as usual. ENSO variability leads to a variation of 1 ppm above or below a trend. ENSO variability tends to average out over a 5 year period, so a reduction of this size carried out for 5 years would likely emerge from the noise in terms of a trend change.

That does say something about how drastic emission reductions need to be to make a difference. It says nothing about whether the standard carbon cycle models are wrong or not: this is consistent both with the standard models and with the theory that human emissions have no impact, it doesn’t help distinguish between them.

Loren C Wilson
November 25, 2020 9:56 am

As far as I can tell, all gaseous and liquid hydrocarbons produce as much or more water on a molar basis than carbon dioxide. Only coal releases more molecules of CO2 than water when it is burned. The molar basis is important because infra-red radiation is absorbed and emitted by a molecule, not a mass. See the table below. Since water is a stronger green-house gas, they should be much more worried about water released into the atmosphere via combustion, let alone the billions of tons of water evaporated via farming, irrigation, watering my lawn, breathing, plant respiration, reservoirs, etc. Why focus on #2 instead of #1? If they want greenhouse gases to go down, we have to kill a lot of wildlife and humans and make the planet a desert.

CH4 1 4 1 2
C8H18 8 18 8 9
C30H62 30 62 30 31
Coal 0.6 0.4 0.6 0.2

Geoff Sherrington
November 25, 2020 3:37 pm

The big problem is yet to come.
Suppose that zealots like John Kerry get to have a formal say on CO2 reduction. More coal shut down, more windmills built … but how are the regulators going to measure the effect of CO2 reductions in the air? How are they going to penalise an emitter when the emitter can show that similar shutdowns already have no effect discernable in CO2 air concentrations?
It is like the p[olice giving tickets for speeding, when their radar guns no longer respond to speeding cars.

Geoff S

howard dewhirst
November 25, 2020 11:05 pm

This result is not unexpected as it is in line with what happened after 2002, when human emissions tripled, and during 2009 when they collapsed under the strain of the GFC. Neither of these huge changes in human emissions appeared in either the Moana Loa CO2 record – or in any of the different global temperature data sets

Tom Abbott
November 26, 2020 10:52 am

From the article: “Since 1990, there has been a 45% increase in total radiative forcing – the warming effect on the climate – by long-lived greenhouse gases, with CO2 accounting for four fifths of this.”

Of course, we don’t really know what a 45% increase in total radiative forcing would amount to, because we don’t know how much warmth a given amount of CO2 adds to the Earth’s atmosphere. All we currently have are guesses as to what that number would be.

So, although a 45% increase might sound scary, it is really meaningless in this context. You get a lot of this kind of thing (scary sounding but meaningless) with Alarmist Climate Science.

November 27, 2020 7:33 pm

who would’ve thought human beings had so little impact on CO2… myself and
quite a few others, it seems…. except of course for the scientists getting taxpayer-funded grants to say that we have a huge impact… pathetic

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