Friday, August 07, 2020

Emissions recovery will be minimal

The draconian coronavirus lockdowns across the world have led to sharp drops in carbon emissions, but this will have “negligible” impact on the climate crisis, with global heating cut by just 0.01C by 2030, a study has found.

“The direct effect of the pandemic-driven lockdown will be negligible,” said the researchers, whose analysis was led by Prof Piers Forster at the University of Leeds.

The data covered 123 countries that together are responsible for 99% of fossil fuel emissions. The researchers found that global CO2 emissions dropped by more than 25% in April 2020, and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 30%.

These falls show that rapid changes in behaviour can make big differences to emissions in the short term, but the scientists said such lockdowns are impossible to maintain. Therefore, economy-wide changes are needed for a transformation to a zero-emissions economy, such as greening transport, buildings and industry with renewable energy, hydrogen or by capturing and burying CO2.

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