|Empty streets are the order of the day now that Covid-19 |
has forced lockdowns in many places.
Daily global CO2 emissions fell by 17% by early April 2020, compared to mean 2019 levels, as a result of governments’ policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19, suggests a paper in Nature Climate Change.
Policies implemented by governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have had a significant impact on energy demand globally. With much of the world’s population confined to their homes and international borders closed, consumption and transportation rates have fallen. However, the lack of real-time global emissions data has made it difficult to quantify the impacts.
Corinne Le Quéré and colleagues reviewed a combination of energy, activity and policy data available up to end of April 2020 to estimate the changes in daily CO2 emissions compared to 2019. Changes in CO2 emissions were estimated across six economic sectors — power, surface transport, industry, public buildings and commerce, residential and aviation — under different confinement scenarios. The authors found that total CO2 emissions decreased by 17% by early April 2020 relative to 2019, and that average daily emissions decreased by 26% per country. Emissions from surface transport and aviation fell by 36% and 60%, respectively. Surface transport, power and industry accounted for 86% of the total decline in emissions.
The authors also estimated the impact of this decline on total emissions for 2020. They suggest that if pre-crisis activity levels return by mid-June, there might be a 4% total average decline by the end of year. If some restrictions remain until the end of 2020, average total emissions may decline by 7%.