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Biodiversity & Environment

Fall in Global Carbon Emissions

  • 20 May 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) has evaluated Covid-19’s effect on carbon emissions.

Key Points

  • It has predicted that emissions will fall between 4.2 and 7.5% on last year, as against a rise of 1% which was earlier predicted for 2020 before the pandemic outbreak.
  • Earlier, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released Global Energy Review: 2020 with details on the effects of the pandemic on global energy demand and carbon emissions.
  • In India, the nationwide lockdown led to minimal air pollution and improved the air quality.
  • Data Analysis:
    • Carbon emissions were 5% lower than during the same time in 2019.
    • Decline was noticed in coal emissions (8%), oil emissions (4.5%) and natural gas emissions (2.3%) as well.
    • Emissions declined the most in regions which were impacted the highest by the disease.
      • For example, there was an 8% decline in emissions in China and Europe, and a 9% decline in the USA.
    • Countries in full lockdown are seeing an average decline of 25% in energy demand per week, while in those with a partial lockdown, the fall in energy demand is about 18% per week.
  • Reasons:
    • Global energy demands have lowered due to the lockdowns and restricted road and air travel.
      • In the first quarter of 2020, most carbon-intensive fuels saw the biggest fall in demand.
    • It led to the decline in carbon emissions which was more than the fall in global energy demand.
    • Commercial demand for energy has fallen as people are confined to their homes. However, domestic electricity demand has increased.
  • Implications:
    • This temporary decline in carbon emissions will not slow down climate change as it is a cumulative problem and a drop from one single year will basically make no difference at all.
    • A 5% drop is equivalent to 0.001 degree Celsius less warming.

Center for International Climate and Environmental Research

  • It is Norway’s foremost institute for interdisciplinary climate research.
  • It has played an active role in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), since 1992.
  • CICERO has a national role in promoting knowledge about climate change and is internationally recognised as a driving force for innovative climate communication.

International Energy Agency

  • It is an autonomous organisation which works to ensure reliable, affordable, and clean energy.
  • It was established in 1974, in the wake of the oil crisis of 1973 after the OPEC cartel had shocked the world with a steep increase in oil prices.
  • It is headquartered in Paris, France.
  • It releases the World Energy Outlook report, annually.
  • India became its associate member in 2017.

Way Forward

  • The reduced emissions are not something to celebrate as it is expected that emissions will soar once economies restart.
  • The only way to sustain the reduced emissions is governments taking conscious decisions to change the sources of energy like moving towards renewable energy sources.

Source: IE

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