As most of the population now works from home, gone is the twice daily rush hour of grid locked traffic clogging up our roads. Offices, shops, bars, gyms and theatres have closed their doors for the meantime. And as travel should only be essential, many take some time to get back in touch with nature and move social activities to the virtual worlds of zoom, skype facetime and houseparty.
As a result of COVID 19 Lockdown, we have seen global carbon emissions reduce drastically. Take China for example, the largest carbon emitter in the world producing more than the US and EU combined. The COVID 19 lockdown has caused China to avoid some 250 million metric tonnes of carbon pollution—more than half the annual carbon emissions of the United Kingdom. Overall, since the lock down, China has reduced its carbon emissions by around 25%.
Meanwhile, in the European Union, declining power demands and depressed manufacturing could cause emissions to fall by nearly 400 million metric tonnes this year, a figure that represents about 9 percent of the EU’s cumulative 2020 emissions target, according to a preliminary forecast issued last week. And while data for the United States remains limited, experts expect that the coronavirus’s impacts will also ripple into the atmosphere as the economy continues to tailspin.
EU-wide emissions could fall by as much as 389 million metric tonnes this year. That’s more than the annual emissions of France and close to 9 percent of the EU’s targeted cumulative emissions for 2020. (Predicted by Marcus Ferdinand, an analyst at Independent Commodity Intelligence Services, a consulting firm) To date, most global estimates have been based on informed speculation, or on forecasts of reduced GDP growth
Whilst all this seems like positive results, many have also warned that emissions will quickly rebound, unless the response to the pandemic can create lasting, structural changes towards net-zero emissions. In other words, as we come through the other end of this pandemic and start up the global economies, our carbon production will go back to normal. Unless we can make the necessary changes.
“We have an opportunity to put, at the heart of stimulus packages, measures to speed up clean energy transitions and to boost energy resilience, so countries and industries come out of this crisis in a better position than they were before,” says Faith Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.
The lockdown has given some breathing space to our planet and began some much needed healing as carbon emissions drastically fall. Does getting our economy back up and running mean every aspect of business as usual? Or are there lessons we can take from this Lockdown and carry forward into the future.
If there were to be a silver lining to these uncertain and sad times this may surely be it. And these results in carbon emission reduction have now surely given us food for thought in how we interact socially, in business, in travel and in our home lives to help our planet. We at Evolve think so!
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National Geographic https://bit.ly/2YszkOp
Carbon Brief https://bit.ly/2SyiNoq
The Guardian Environment https://bit.ly/2WnOL7Q