Greenhouse gas emissions predicted to drop record 7% in 2020

(ORDO NEWS) — Climatologists have found that the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere in 2020, compared to the previous period, decreased by the equivalent of 2.4 billion tons (7%). So far, this is the largest decline on record. The research results were published by the scientific journal Earth System Science Data.

“Despite this, humanity still emits a huge amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – it is equivalent to 39 billion tons of CO2. We will be able to stabilize the Earth’s climate only if global emissions are close to zero,” – said one of the authors of the study, Professor Exeter University (UK) Pierre Friedlingstein.

Due to the spread of coronavirus infection in the world, the volumes of industrial production, automobile traffic and many other sources of CO2 and other greenhouse gases have sharply decreased. The first studies showed that compared to winter and early spring 2019, greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 decreased by about 8.8%. In October, British climatologists published more relevant data, according to which global CO2 emissions for the entire current year could decrease by about 4.4-5.3%.

Friedlingstein and his colleagues at the Global Carbon Budget prepared a preliminary estimate of how emissions will change over the entire year of 2020 and which sectors of the economy and industry experienced the largest drop in greenhouse gas emissions.

According to their article, the level of emissions decreased more than expected: it fell by a record 2.4 billion tons. This represents approximately 7% of the total mass of all anthropogenic greenhouse gases that humanity released into the atmosphere last year. In absolute terms, this decline is several times greater than the consequences of the economic crises of 2009, 1981 and 1992.

The researchers note that the events of 2020 have very different impacts on different sectors of the economy of the countries of the world, which is directly related to the way the COVID-19 epidemic is progressing. In particular, the largest decrease in emissions was observed in the USA and European countries: by 11-12%. China was practically unaffected by this drop – emissions there decreased by only 1.7%.

If you look at the sectors, the biggest drop in emissions was in aviation and road transport. They produced 10 to 40% less CO2 and other greenhouse gases. On the other hand, the metals and energy sectors recovered their typical emissions after a sharp drop in April and almost reached last year’s values.

Overall, scientists expect the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to rise by relatively small amounts, by about 2.5 ppm, rising from 410 to 412 ppm. Climatologists suggest that after the end of the COVID-19 epidemic, this figure will return to the values ​​of previous years, when the concentration of CO2 increased by three parts per million every year.

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