A locked-down pandemic-struck world has cut its carbon dioxide emissions this year by seven percent, the biggest drop ever, new preliminary figures show.
The Global Carbon Project, an authoritative group of dozens of international scientists who track emissions, calculated that the world will have put 34 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in the air in 2020. That’s down from 36.4 billion metric tons in 2019, according to a study published in the journal Earth System Science Data.
Scientists say this drop is chiefly because people are staying home, traveling less by car and plane, and that emissions are expected to jump back up after the pandemic ends. Ground transportation makes up about one-fifth of emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief man-made heat-trapping gas.
Study co-author Corinne LeQuere, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia, said, “Of course, lockdown is absolutely not the way to tackle climate change.”