Home Article Covid-19 has cut CO2 emissions by 7% worldwide this year

Covid-19 has cut CO2 emissions by 7% worldwide this year

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NBC News


The Covid-19 pandemic has turned many aspects of our daily lives upside down. Fortunately, it has not had all negative consequences on our life and our planet. According to the annual report of the Global Carbon Project, the coronavirus pandemic has reduced carbon emissions by 7% in 2020.

A decrease mainly linked to the transport sector

The Global Carbon Project – a group made up of dozens of international scientists who are authoritative on monitoring carbon dioxide emissions – has produced its annual report. According to the group’s calculations, the world emitted 34 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air in 2020. According to the details of the study that was published in the journal Earth System Science Data, this is a decrease of 7% compared to the 36.4 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted in 2019. During the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, a decrease of 17% compared to 2019 could even be observed.

This study was particularly interested in carbon emissions of fossil origin, and it was found that the Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on this aspect of air pollution. Indeed, the pandemic has forced a large number of people to stay at home, and many companies to slow down or even cease their activity. With a consequent decrease in the use of vehicles and other means of transport, carbon emissions have been reduced in the same flight. Note that transport represents a fifth of emissions from fossil fuels. The study also noted that some regions – such as the United States, India and the European Union – observed a more pronounced decrease in CO2 emissions.

The decline was smaller in China, however. As for France, the country observed a 15% drop in its CO2 emissions in 2020, reported the BBC. According to the professor Corinne Le Quere, co-author of the study, this is explained by the fact that with the United Kingdom, France is one of the countries to have adopted the most stringent containment measures at the global level. In addition, she also explained that in these two countries, a large part of CO2 emissions come from the transport sector. ” This is all the more true in France, because a large part of their electricity production comes from nuclear energy, so 40% of their emissions come from the transport sector. “, has explained Corinne Le Quere.

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A temporary improvement or a long-term solution?

While this drop is impressive, scientists fear it will be short-lived. According to the researchers, it is indeed probable that there will be a rebound in CO2 emissions in 2021. Moreover, an observation of the situation over the long term allows us to affirm that this consequent drop in CO2 emissions in 2020 n is not sufficient to mitigate global warming. ” It’s a temporary respite “, has explained Philippe Ciais, researcher at the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences.

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According to the researcher, the best way to effectively fight against global warming does not lie in the cessation of human activities, but rather in the transition to green energy. For his part, Chris Field, director of Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, has a different view of the situation. ” I am optimistic that we as a company have learned some lessons that could help reduce emissions in the future. “, does he have declared to Associated Press. According to him, the pandemic was an opportunity for humanity to learn to live differently. If people and businesses can adopt teleworking over the long term, it would be possible to reduce future behavioral carbon emissions.



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