• AMPlus Issue7

COVID 19’s Massive Impact on global CO2 emissions

Preethi Padaki

19th October 2020

The COVID 19 pandemic has taken an unprecedented toll on the world. According to ANI, 2020 witnessed a phenomenal decrease in CO2 emissions, which is more significant than during the financial emergency of 2008, the oil emergency of 1979, or even World War II. With data compiled by the Carbon Monitor research initiative, researchers could track how emissions have fluctuated due to the lockdown measures.


In April, while the most powerful nations had to shut down their economy, emissions declined by 16.9 per cent. "The best decrease of outflows was in the ground transportation area," said Daniel Kamen, professor, and chair of the Energy and Resources Group and teacher in the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley.


Daniel Kamen, while explaining this phenomenal decrease in CO2 emissions, said, "Generally, in light of travel and transport limitations, transport CO2 emissions diminished by 40 per cent around the world. Conversely, the power and industrial sector contributed less to the decrease, with 22 per cent and 17 per cent, individually, as did the shipping and aviation sectors. Shockingly, even the private sector saw a drop of 3 per cent. Energy utilization diminished since the majority of people around the world remained at home throughout the day during lockdown periods."


The above graph depicts the CO2 emissions since the rise in COVID19 cases (Source: National Geographic)

Analysts based their research on a wide range of hourly datasets of power generation in 31 nations, daily vehicle traffic over 400 urban communities worldwide, traveler flights, month-to-month production information for industry in 62 countries, and fuel utilization information for building and analyzing emissions in over 200 nations. The scientists additionally discovered solid bounce back impacts. Aside from the reduced emissions from the transportation area, by July 2020, when lockdown measures lifted, most economies functioned with their standard degrees of producing CO2. Regardless of whether they stayed at low levels, this would have a somewhat little impact on the atmosphere's CO2 concentration.


Accordingly, the creators stress that the only legitimate way is to overhaul the existing industrial sector. "While the CO2 drop is unprecedented, narrowing human activities cannot be the answer," says Co-Author Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

(Sources: ANI, Sciencedaily, UCI)

Edited by: Keyuri

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