Carbon Emissions Are Down 17%

Researchers from the Nature Climate Change have released information that in April of 2019 global CO2 emissions had dropped by 17%  and in some places like the US and UK, these numbers have fallen by a third. This is all in part to the world hitting pause on everyday life due to COVID19. Going forward, even if some restrictions are lifted researchers project a 7% drop in overall carbon emissions by the end of the year, which is more than a 3% decrease from the 2008 financial crisis. According to climate scientist, Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia, “CO2 stays in the atmosphere a long, long time, even though we had a massive change in emissions, that did not affect the stock of CO2 in the atmosphere very much. It’s small compared to what we’ve put in the atmosphere for decades.” In order for scientists to measure the earth’s CO2 emissions they had to study mountains of data and statistics about car traffic, electricity usage, airline flights, and manufacturing, in order to build a global picture of how the pandemic has cut emissions. Satellites cannot be programed to receive CO2 emissions in real-time in orbit and to make matters trickier each country has its own unique carbon emission output. However grim our current global situation is, this research shows that not all of us have to commute to the office every day and that a likely future of working from home might be in the cards. Possibly not all events like conferences have to be in person either. Over the last few months, NYC has closed several miles of streets off to cars, allowing more room for pedestrians to safely practice social distancing. If we continue to do this in other major cities, the outcome will have a lasting positive impact in the long run. Looking back at the 2018 financial crisis, the Obama administration pumped funding into renewable energy sources, why can’t we do the same in this crisis?