Global Emissions

COVID-19 is Dropping Global Emissions to Their Lowest Level Since WWII

All around the world emissions are dropping for the first time in decades, and between January and April, emissions have decreased by a whopping 17% when compared to 2019. This would bring global emissions to their lowest levels since WWII as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

However, this emissions reduction is only temporary.

The report estimates that by the end of the year, we will see anywhere between a 4% to 7% drop in emissions. The low is if the world resumes normal operation in June, whereas the high is if they do not.

However, researchers are certain this is temporary because nothing has fundamentally changed.

This is all the result of the lockdown.

What Did the Report Find?

CO2 Emissions

The researchers created an algorithm based on information from 69 countries, which represents 97% of the global emissions. The results found that the biggest drop in emissions came from the transportation sector.

Emissions from surface transportation (vehicles on the road) decreased by 50% during this time.

Even more impressive is the decline in aviation emissions, which saw a 75% decrease. The next most impactful decrease was from the energy sector. While the residential power did see an increase of 5%, the overall global energy saw a 15% decrease in emission levels.

Overall, the research found a decrease of 1,048 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Not Worth Celebrating

While many are excited to see emissions fall significantly for the first time, it isn’t for a good reason. Instead of introducing better regulations, incorporating more green technology, more recycling, and everything else scientists have suggested for decades, this decrease is the result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

To put this into perspective, if emissions drop using the high-end the report proposed, 8%, we would need to repeat that until 2030 to meet the Paris Agreements goals. The only way that is possible is to make big sweeping changes to the way the world operates.

Unfortunately, it is far more likely that countries will go in the opposite direction to kick start their economies.

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