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Good news: there will be a ‘historic decline’ in global emissions this year

Ellie Walker-Arnott
Written by
Ellie Walker-Arnott

The last few months have been a scary and stressful time for most of us. But there have also been some interesting and positive things to come out of the situation too. Communities have been coming together to support one another. Individuals have embarked on extraordinary missions. Animals have been enjoying the peace and quiet. Air pollution has dropped in our cities. 

Now, it’s being reported that, thanks to humankind’s temporary pause, global carbon dioxide emissions are set to drop by almost 8 per cent this year (compared to 2019). And with social distancing measures likely to be around for the long haul, experts are predicting that this will be the biggest drop in history.

So far, according to the International Energy Agency, the global stay-at-home situation has resulted in the biggest drop in energy demand since WWII, taking the planet back to levels last recorded a decade ago in 2010. 

This significant drop global emissions is thanks to restricted movement, the grounding of flights and the halting of industry during the last couple of months. By the end of March, road transport activity was down about 50 per cent globally, while air travel in some European countries had dropped more than 90 per cent, according to Bloomberg

The IEA is suggesting that the dip could permanently alter demand for fossil fuels, like oil, gas and coal, and welcome in a stronger era for renewable energy, which has managed to see an increase in use during the crisis.  

‘The energy industry that emerges from this crisis will be significantly different from the one that came before,’ said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director.

What remains to be seen is how the energy sector will be impacted in the long term and whether this will be an opportunity to move towards a greener model once life begins to return to normal. Here’s hoping!

Want to be a change for good? 

Here’s how to be (more) plastic-free when you’re at home

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