JOEL SAGET | AFP via Getty Images
The Covid-19 outbreak has meant countries around the world have effectively had to shut down, with many governments imposing draconian restrictions on the daily lives of billions of people. To date, confinement measures have been implemented in 187 countries or territories in an effort to try to slow the spread of the pandemic.
A side-effect of these measures, which vary in their application
Analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a research note that they expect energy-related carbon emissions (which account for two-thirds of total greenhouse gas emissions) to fall by at least 5.4% this year alone.
To be sure, that’s roughly five times that of previous crises, with the potential for “much larger” declines depending on the length of disruption to the transportation sector and industrial activity.
‘This time could be different’
“This time could be different as we have potentially already reached peak energy-related carbon,” they added.
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However, research from the IEA published in early February found global energy-related carbon emissions had already started to flatten, potentially leading to a peak in global greenhouse gas emissions a decade early.
The IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol has since argued that progress made in transitioning the energy production mix could mark 2019 through to 2020 as the definitive year for peak energy-related carbon emissions.
“A signiﬁcant effort will be needed to ensure that global greenhouse gas emissions don’t just
Why might China’s response to this crisis be so critical?
“Climate change is a massive global threat that will still be there after we have overcome this pandemic and we will need to be working very hard to avoid that becoming something that undermines lives and livelihoods,” Ward continued.
If China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon emissions, chooses to recover from this crisis “by relying on coal and other fossil
“But, also, it will set an example to other developing countries that that’s an acceptable way — and that might be even more damaging,” he added.
Policy and Communications Director at London School of Economics
Stringent measures to curb the pandemic’s spread has coincided with a significant improvement of air quality in many cities across the globe. In fact, in Europe, the effects are visible from space.
The European Space Agency, citing data from the European Union Copernicus program, said Thursday that some cities in the region had recorded a massive decline in nitrogen dioxide concentration levels in recent weeks.
From March 13 through to April 13, the ESA said that compared to the same period the previous year, Madrid, Milan and Rome had all reported decreases of nitrogen dioxide concentrations of around 45%. Paris, meanwhile, saw a “dramatic” drop of 54%.
“I think we have been given a window, out of a very tragic situation, to look at a reset in a way that we did not think possible three months ago,” Gail Whiteman, director of the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business at Lancaster University, told CNBC via telephone.
“Peak carbon isn’t a dream. It is not a utopian vision. It can
Manuel Silvestri | Reuters
“The way in which we have
“I think the absolutely critical element here is governments must understand that if they rebuild in a high carbon