Global carbon dioxide emissions have dropped by a percent in 2020 compared to 2019 levels due to the Covid-19 epidemic and its necessary lockdowns and restrictions, a new study has found. This survey comes five years after the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement and provides important insights into the global efforts needed to reduce emissions and maintain these reductions. High-income countries, which are largely responsible for emissions, have slowed their CO2 growth to an average of 0.8 percent per year since the PC agreement was signed in 2015, but fell 9 percent in 2020 due to epidemics, the study found.
Emissions from upper-middle-income and lower-income countries averaged 0.8 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively, between 2016 and 2019, respectively. However, in 2020 this growth turned into a drop of 5 percent for upper-middle countries and 9 percent for low-income countries. The release of 2.6 less gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2020 gives us an idea of the commitment governments need to make to avoid global catastrophes and to keep global temperatures below 2°C (3.6°F). In the 2020s, we need to reduce emissions by 1 to 2 gigatons per year, the researchers said. The authors write in Nature Climate Change, “The reduction in CO2 emissions from the response to COVID-19 highlights the action needed to tackle climate change and the level of international compliance. “Experience from several previous crises has shown that the underlying drivers of emissions will appear in a few years, if not immediately. So in order to change the direction of global CO2 emissions in the end, the underlying drivers also need to change. Ambitious goals must pursued to address the climate emergency, but a recent interim report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change shows that we are not very close to reaching the goals set by the Paris Climate Agreement. China and the United States have agreed to reach “net zero” by 2060. The European Union has pledged to reduce the net to by 2050 and at least 55 percent by 2030.
While these measures welcomed, researchers report that current COVID-19 recovery plans are in direct conflict with these objectives, and that this could be a waste of learning to do better in changing economies and societies. “Covid did not shut down our global economy but the impact was unforgettably huge: we flew less and traveled less; we often ate less, worked from home, did less socialization; Production continued, and labs remained open but only shutdowns and deviations occurred. Yet, the reduction in CO2 emissions was less than 10%, there was a slight change in society centered on disasters … and compared to the need to reduce CO2 emissions by almost 100%, “said Professor Richard Pancost, a professor not involved in the study Biochemistry at the University of Bristol. “It does not surprise us, for over a century, we have embedded fossil fuel emissions in every aspect of our society. We burn fossil fuels for flying or driving but also for making bicycles or providing our powered food.
This will not disappoint us, because if we have been able to build a fossil-fuel based society for a century, replacing it in a few decades will not be too much of a challenge. Seriously, it involves more than just a change in our behavior, although they are important. We need to invest in infrastructure and transform our economy and support many of those who will affected by these changes.”