Atmospheric greenhouse gas levels hit new highs in 2021, climate pollution is rising, and countries’ pledges to reduce their emissions are insufficient — but, Russia’s war and atrocities in Ukraine could accelerate the global shift to clean energy. The amount of heat-trapping CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere all rose to record levels in 2021, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization said Wednesday. Levels of methane, which traps more than 80 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2 over a 20-year period, rose the most of those three gasses and at the fastest pace since regular measurements began 40 years ago.

As world leaders prepare to meet for COP27 in Egypt next month, global collective promises to cut climate pollution are “nowhere near” what is needed meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the UN’s 2022 NDC Synthesis Report warned, likely leading to a cataclysmic 2.5°C (4.5°F) of warming by 2100.

The global fossil fuel turmoil in the wake of the Russian war in Ukraine and methane gas blackmail of Europe could, however, be an inflection point in the clean energy transition and accelerate the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, the International Energy Agency said in its flagship World Energy Outlook report released this morning.

(Atmospheric GHG levels: AP, The Guardian, NBC; Methane increase: Washington Post $; European Methane: The Guardian; Insufficient pledges: E&E News, AP, Reuters, The Guardian, CNBC, The Hill, Axios, Bloomberg $; IEA: AP, New York Times $, Politico EU)