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Covid19 and greenhouse emissions: the worldwide fall in 2020

Covid19 and greenhouse emissions the worldwide fall in 2020

According to an analysis by independent research company Rhodium Group, in 2020 greenhouse emissions fell by more than 10% in the USA.

Planet-heating emissions in the US fell by more than 10% in 2020, a record drop generated by extraordinary reductions in travel and industrial activity– the largest fall since World War II. Here are the latest estimates from the Global Carbon Project (GCP)

While a drop in emissions in a single year will not slow the pace of global warming, Carbonbrief.com informs about what researchers say: “there is a unique opportunity to secure long-term emissions cuts by following an economic recovery aligned with tackling climate change”.

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The peak of the decrease in emissions occurred in the first half of April 2020, the researchers say. This happened when lockdown measures in response to Covid-19 were at their most comprehensive – particularly in Europe and the US, they note: “at that point, daily global fossil CO2 emissions were around 17% below their average 2019 levels.”

The researchers estimate that CO2 from fossil fuels and industry (FF&I) has declined by 2.4GtCO2 compared to 2019. “This has never been seen before”, state researchers to Carbonbrief.com, “this is equivalent to a drop of 7% in global emissions”. Dr Glen Peters, research director at the Centre for International Climate Research (CICERO) in Norway, told a press briefing: “You’d have to go back to 1945 – the second world war – to see a relative drop bigger than this 7%.”

To have a visual idea, the video below – by French-Canadian scientist Marie Corinne Lyne Le Quéré – shows how daily CO2 emissions changed as individual countries locked down in response to Covid-19 throughout 2020. The most intense blue shading shows the largest changes.

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