COVID-19 confinement leads to temporary reduction in daily global carbon dioxide emissions

By Virginia Capmourteres

New research published in Nature Climate Change suggests that daily global CO2 emissions have dropped by 17% by early April 2020, compared to the average emissions in 2019. It is still early to say what the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on 2020 annual emissions will be, but a reduction between 4% and 7% is expected.  

While changes are likely to be temporary, the authors suggest that the “social trauma of confinement and associated changes” could alter future trajectories in unpredictable ways. Structural changes in the economic, transport or energy systems will likely be needed if we aim to balance economic stimuli with low carbon pathways in the post-pandemic world.

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