CARBON EMISSIONS AMID COVID-19 PANDEMIC FELL 17 PERCENT GLOBALLY, EVEN HIGHER IN SOME COUNTRIES: STUDY
A new study by researchers at the University of East Anglia, UK claims that daily carbon emission levels have dropped by a whopping 17 percent owing to the drop in activity during the coronavirus pandemic. The paper adds that the last time emission levels were seen to be this low was in 2006.
The study published in the journal Nature Climate Change shows that daily emissions decreased by 17 percent, globally (which shapes up to roughly 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide) when the peak lockdown measures were exercised in early April. This data was compared with mean daily levels in 2019, and found to be as low as levels last observed in 2006.
Researchers have laid out in the paper that emissions from surface transport – cars, busses, and other motor vehicles – account for nearly half (43 percent) of this fall in emissions during peak confinement (on 7 April). Emissions from industry and from power together account for an equal portion (43 percent) of the fall in daily emissions.
While the aviation sector is one of the hardest hit by the lockdown, it accounts for around 3 percent of global emissions – but it accounted for 10 percent of the emissions drop during the early days of the pandemic-prompted lockdown.
The emissions from higher energy use as people began working from home did little to offset the drop in emissions from other sectors.
The study also makes the bold claim that in some countries, emissions fell by 26 percent on average at peak confinement.
However, this "extreme" effect of the Covid-19 global lockdown on daily emissions of carbon won't last, the analysis predicts.
"Population confinement has led to drastic changes in energy use and CO2 emissions. These extreme decreases are likely to be temporary though, as they do not reflect structural changes in the economic, transport, or energy systems," Professor Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia–UK, who led the analysis, said in a statement.
"The extent to which world leaders consider climate change when planning their economic responses post Covid-19 will influence the global CO2 emissions paths for decades to come.
"Opportunities exist to make real, durable, changes and be more resilient to future crises, by implementing economic stimulus packages that also help meet climate targets, especially for mobility, which accounts for half the decrease in emissions during confinement," Le Quéré added. "For example in cities and suburbs, supporting walking and cycling, and the uptake of electric bikes, is far cheaper and better for wellbeing and air quality than building roads, and it preserves social distancing."