The Global Carbon Project is an organization founded in 2001 that seeks to quantify the global emissions of the three dominant greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. The group’s atmospheric emission trackers estimate that 34 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide will be discharged into the air in 2020. According to a study published in the journal Earth System Science Data, this is 7% less than in 2019, when 36.4 billion tons were released worldwide.
According to scientists, this decline is mainly due to the fact that people prefer to stay at home, move less in cars and planes during the coronavirus pandemic. Ground vehicles accounts for about one fifth of carbon dioxide emissions.
“Of course, isolation is absolutely not the way to combat climate change”, said study co-author Corinne LeCer, a climatologist at the University of East Anglia.
Emissions were down 12% in the United States and 11% in Europe, but only 1.7% in China as the country ended an isolation earlier and the second wave of the pandemic was shorter in duration. In addition, the vast majority of China’s carbon emissions come from industrial operations, not transport.
Even with such a decline in 2020, an average of 1075 metric tons of carbon dioxide are discharged into the atmosphere every second worldwide. Climatologists of the project explained that the closure of industrial plants due to the coronavirus pandemic “did not curb record levels of greenhouse gases” that trap heat in the atmosphere, which cause an increase in temperatures, a growing number of extreme weather phenomena, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and acidity of the oceans.
Climate change is one of the main modern challenges, which the UN recognizes: climate unpredictability increases the risks of natural disasters and threatens food production.
The final 2019 data, published in the same study, shows that emissions increased by just 0.1% from 2018 to 2019, much less than the annual jumps of about 3% even five years ago.