The pandemic triggers an “extreme” 17 percent reduction in daily global carbon emissions
(ORDO NEWS) — Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, many people in the world stopped flying and did not go to work, which led to a sharp reduction in carbon emissions.
A study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Climate Change shows that global carbon emissions in April fell by 17 percent than the average daily emissions in 2019.
The results showed that daily average emissions decreased by 18.7 million tons of carbon compared to last year. This is an emission level comparable to 2006.
“We see that global carbon emissions will be reduced by at least 4 percent this year, and possibly by 7 percent or 8 percent,” said Robert Jackson, co-author of the new study.
“In any case, it will be the biggest drop in the year after World War II, and possibly ever.”
The largest reduction in emissions came from reduced ground traffic.
To quantify carbon reductions, the study examined emissions data from over 69 countries, including the United States and 30 Chinese provinces. The sample represents 85 percent of the world’s population and 97 percent of global CO2 emissions.
In early April, researchers found that regions producing 89 percent of global emissions were under some type of isolation. Thus, they divided the limits into three categories based on severity levels, and then assessed the impact on ordinary daily activities of residents (and the related effect on carbon emissions).
They found that in countries where the most stringent quarantine measures were in place, which they defined as “compulsory national isolation, requiring isolation of all but key workers,” daily reductions in ground transportation (such as car trips) by 50 percent and 75 percent daily decrease in air travel.
In these two sectors, emissions fell by 36 and 60 percent, respectively.
The reduction in emissions from land transport amounted to 43 percent of the total decrease in daily global emissions compared to 2019. This is due to the fact that air transportation produces less than 3 percent of annual carbon emissions, while ground transportation gives almost 10 times more.
In general, according to researchers, emissions from January to mid-April decreased by a total of 1,048 million metric tons compared with last year’s average for 12 months. About 23 percent of this decline is in China, 20 percent in the United States, and 9 percent in India.
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