Of course, lockdown is absolutely no the way to tackle climate change, said study co-author Corinne LeQuere, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia.
The same group of scientists months ago predicted emission drops of 4% to 7%, depending on the progression of COVID-19. A second coronavirus wave and continued travel reductions pushed the decrease to 7%, LeQuere said.
Emissions dropped 12% in the United States and 11% in Europe, but only 1.7% in China. That's because China had an earlier lockdown with less of a second wave. Also China's emissions are more industrial based than other countries and its industry was less affected than transportation, LeQuere said.
The calculations based on reports detailing energy use, industrial production and daily mobility counts were praised as accurate by outside scientists.
Even with the drop in 2020, the world on average put 1,185 tons (1,075 metric tons) of carbon dioxide into the air every second.
Final figures for 2019 published in the same study show that from 2018 to 2019 emissions of the main man-made heat-trapping gas increased only 0.1%, much smaller than annual jumps of around 3% a decade or two ago. Even with emissions expected to rise after the pandemic, scientists are wondering if 2019 be the peak of carbon pollution, LeQuere said.
We are certainly very close to an emissions peak, if we can keep the global community together, said United Nations Development Director Achim Steiner.
Chris Field, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, thinks emissions will increase after the pandemic, but said I am optimistic that we have, as a society learned some lessons that may help decrease emissions in the future."
For example," he added, "as people get good at telecommuting a couple of days a week or realise they don't need quite so many business trips, we might see behaviour-related future emissions decreases.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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