Coronavirus lockdown cut energy-related Carbon dioxide emissions 17%, study finds


The researchers learned that mandated time inside led carbon emissions levels to drop globally by over 25 percent.

Data from 69 countries were analyzed, which together represent 85% of the world population and 97% of global emissions. Their team developed a prototype monitoring system.

The study, carried out by Global Carbon Project, looked at 450 databases showing daily energy use and introduced a measurement scale for pandemic-related societal "confinement" in its estimates.

The study was carried out by Global Carbon Project, which is a collaboration of renowned worldwide scientists that help to produce an annual estimate of carbon dioxide emissions in the world. "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". The researchers compared emissions levels from this time last year with this year's levels through the end of April.

Le Quéré's team predicted that despite the lockdown measures that will be relaxed later this year, the cumulative global emissions for 2020 would decrease by around 4-7 percent, the largest drop since World War II. If certain restrictions remain in place until the end of the year, average emissions may decline by 7% from last year. This is still shy of the 7.6-percent yearly reduction called for the by United Nations, which if achieved through to 2030 may limit global warming to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) over pre-industrial levels.

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For the most up-to-date news and information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the World Health Organization website. "In Australia, a major drive to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and industry could deliver over 120,000 job-years of employment", it says. Across a whole year, this would mean emissions would drop by almost 100-million tonnes, or about 20%, if level 5 lockdown were to continue.

"I do not understand, however, how these challenges justify abandoning our responsibility to prevent the worst effects of climate change that will bring even more devastating, more permanent catastrophe". China's carbon dioxide emissions reduced to about 315 million tonnes, equivalent to the annual carbon emission of France.

Those two sectors saw a 36% and 60% decrease in emissions, respectively.

In the countries with the strictest lockdown restrictions, emissions from aviation plunged 75 per cent in early April, while emissions from land transport fell by 50 per cent and from power generation by 15 per cent. Despite everybody being confined to their homes, the increase of energy use from households has been modest and easily off-set by the gains from the other sectors. The reduction equals a drop of around 18.7 million tons of carbon dioxide. China has recovered after the lockdown ended.

The researchers estimated a decline of 26.3 percent for Japan and 31.6 percent for the United States.