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Japan CO2 levels hit record high in 2020 despite global emission decline amid pandemic

A Japan Meteorological Agency sign is seen in Tokyo's Minato Ward. (Mainichi/Shinji Kurokawa)

TOKYO -- The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) announced on March 29 that the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) -- a primary greenhouse gas -- surrounding Japan kept rising in 2020 and recorded the highest levels since the agency started observations.

    While it has been reported that global CO2 emissions in 2020 declined from 2019 due to stagnated economic activities amid the coronavirus pandemic, the JMA said, "The emissions decline is within the annual fluctuation of absorbed amounts by plants, etc., and they could not be detected in the CO2 level data."

    CO2 levels surrounding Japan are measured at three onshore observation spots, as well as points above the Pacific Ocean and southeastern Japan. The average 2020 CO2 levels recorded at onshore observation spots were: 416.3 parts per million (ppm) in the Ryori district in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture -- 2.3 ppm higher than in 2019; 414.5 ppm on Minamitorishima island in Ogasawara, Tokyo -- 2.3 ppm higher than in the previous year; and 417.2 ppm on Yonagunijima island in Yonaguni, Okinawa Prefecture -- 2.4 ppm higher than in 2019. The figures were all record highs.

    (Japanese original by Ai Oba, Science & Environment News Department)

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