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‘Negligible’ long-term impacts on climate from COVID-19 restrictions

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Nature Climate Change Empty streets during the Covid shutdown in Zaragoza City, Spain, Mar. 2020. A Wikimedia photo. The decline in greenhouse-gas emissions and air pollutants, as a result of policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19, will have a negligible impact on long-term warming and may lead to cooling of just 0.005–0.01 °C by 2030, suggests a paper in Nature Climate Change. However, the findings also suggest that if a ‘green recovery’ is pursued, warming could possibly be kept within the 1.5 °C limit above pre-industrial levels by 2050. The enforcement of policies to limit the spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on travel and work. This lack of mobility has led to substantial declines in greenhouse-gas emissions and air pollutants. Previous research has examined the immediate impacts of COVID-19 policies on emissions; however, the long-term impacts of these policies are not well understood. Piers Forster and colleagues analysed mobility data fro