BEIJING, May 20 (UPI) — Global human emissions from human activity fell by 17 percent in April from 2019, according to a report published Tuesday by the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, according tomedia. The sharp drop in emissions stems mainly from the 2019 pandemic of the new coronavirus, which also brought the world back to 2006 levels of increased pollution from the first global warming, showing an increase in greenhouse gas emissions over the past 14 years alone.
The reduction in CO2 emissions came mainly from manufacturing, power generation, transportation and transport, excluding the aviation industry. The aviation industry has been hit hard by the new crown outbreak. The aviation industry has reduced carbon emissions by 60%, but the overall impact on the climate is minimal compared to other industries.
But scientists and environmentalists are not entirely optimistic about a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The sharp drop in emissions is due to temporary closures by governments and people’s homes to avoid the spread of the new coronavirus. But that is not enough to put the brakes on climate change. If there is no long-term change in the way society operates, pollution will rebound in retaliation once the outbreak subsides.
“Social response alone will not lead to far-reaching, sustainable and needed emission reductions,” the report said, adding that the environmental benefits of the new corona outbreak are likely to be temporary. The report’s authors are based on estimates of energy use, industrial activity data and government responses in the new corona epidemic.
Overall emissions are expected to fall only modestly in 2020, depending on how long the social alienation policy can be implemented. If carbon emissions return to pre-epidemic levels by mid-June, the annual reduction in emissions from the outbreak will be about 4%. The report’s authors argue that carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 7% if the restrictions are maintained throughout the year, as recommended by many public health experts. That’s down from the 8 per cent previously forecast by the International Energy Agency.
A moderate decline in carbon emissions is expected for the full year 2020
Even so, “8 percent is not a lot of big plans,” meteorologist Sean Sublette told The Verge, a nonprofit climate center, earlier this month. Carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere and lasts for hundreds or even thousands of years. As a result, as carbon emissions from human activities increase, the total amount of carbon remains in the atmosphere and generates heat.
“It’s like a bathtub, when you turn the tap on and last for a while, and then you turn the tap off 10 percent, but you’re still filling it with water,” Sublette says.
If governments delay action on climate change during or after an outbreak, carbon emissions could pick up even more quickly than ever after the 2008 financial crisis. This could lead to a more severe climate crisis, more than predicted before the new corona outbreak.
On the other hand, if we can cut emissions by 4 to 7 per cent a year – not because the outbreak has forced us to stay at home, but because the international community has moved from fossil fuels to sustainable energy – then we are closer to the goals set by the Paris climate agreement. The Paris climate agreement aims to reduce carbon emissions to zero by the middle of this century. This could avert a global catastrophe caused by climate change. (Berg)