Whether these low levels will be maintained is up to world leaders.
According to a new study by scientists at the University of East Anglia in the UK, daily carbon emissions have decreased by an astonishing 17 percent due to the coronavirus pandemic. The last time levels were this low was in 2006.
“Population confinement has led to drastic changes in energy use and CO2 emissions,” Corinne Le Quéré, professor at the University of East Anglia, and lead author of the paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change today, said in a statement.
The most significant changes in emissions were observed in China, the US, and Europe.
The drop is so substantial, in fact, that would put world nations on a trajectory to achieve climate objectives that were outlined in the United Nations Paris Agreement.
Unfortunately, the drop is unlikely to stick.
“These extreme decreases are likely to be temporary though, as they do not reflect structural changes in the economic, transport, or energy systems,” Le Quéré said, adding that the “extent to which world leaders consider climate change when planning their economic responses post COVID-19 will influence the global CO2 emissions paths for decades to come.”
To keep carbon emissions low, local leaders in cities and suburbs could encourage things like walking, cycling, and the use of electric bikes, which also tend to be “far cheaper and better for wellbeing and air quality than building roads, and it preserves social distancing,” according to Le Quéré.
READ MORE: COVID-19 crisis causes 17% drop in global carbon emissions: study [University of East Anglia]
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