How are atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases developing compared with levels consistent with limiting the increase in global mean temperature to 2 °C or even 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels?

Policy Question
Indicator codes: CSI 013 , CLIM 052

Key messages

(21 Jan 2019)

  • The annual average concentration of CO2, the most significant anthropogenic greenhouse gas, increased to 403 and 405 parts per million (ppm) in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
  • The total concentration of all greenhouse gases, including cooling aerosols, reached a value of 449 ppm in CO2 equivalents in 2016 — an increase of more than 4 ppm compared with 2015, and 33 ppm more than 10 years ago. 
  • If the concentrations of the different greenhouse gases continue to increase at current rates, the peak concentration levels required to stay below a temperature increase of 1.5 °C  above pre-industrial levels, could be reached within the next 5-16 years. Peak concentration required to stay below a maximum 2 °C temperature increase could be reached in 17-40 years. 
  • Given the increasing concentration levels, negative emissions may become important to increase the probability of remaining below the Paris temperature objectives.

Read full indicator assessment

Document Actions
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100