Staying Inside Helped Us in Keeping the Daily Global CO2 Emissions Low

Staying at home helped with preventing the spread of the new coronavirus, but you know what else they did? They cleared the air.

It seems that the global carbon dioxide emissions have dropped to 17%. That’s from about 100 million metric tons to about 83 million metric tons. That, if we are to compare it to the daily emissions from 2019. There were also some other changes, as well. We are talking about the lock-downs grounded planes, which reduced the traffic and changes the patterns of energy consumption. It might be challenging to quantify the impact of the changes in global CO2 emissions. Most emissions are reported annually, and not every day – not even month by month. Researchers used daily data, like electricity demand and city congestion, in order to estimate the emissions in 69 countries. They have also created a “confinement index” that was based on how strict the policies imposed by the government were in different locations. During the most severe periods, when only some people were allowed to commute, the aviation activity from every day decreased by 75%. Surface transportation was reduced by 50%. The power use was reduced by 15%.

Does the future look bright?

If the world gets back to a somewhat average level of activity in June, the emissions this year will be 4% lower than those in 2019. If these restrictions are kept through the end of the year, 2020 emissions will decrease by 7%.

However, these emissions are not sustainable, and they are pricy. But it sure does show the cuts that need to be done in order to reach emissions targets set by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

In order to limit the warming of the globe to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, we will all need to reduce emissions by 7.6% every year for the next ten years.


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