COVID-19 crisis causes 17% drop in global carbon emissions

University of East Anglia

The COVID-19 global lockdown has had an “extreme” effect on daily carbon emissions, but it is unlikely to last – according to a new analysis by an international team of scientists.

The study published in the journal Nature Climate Change shows that daily emissions decreased by 17% – or 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – globally during the peak of the confinement measures in early April compared to mean daily levels in 2019, dropping to levels last observed in 2006.

Emissions from surface transport, such as car journeys, account for almost half (43%) of the decrease in global emissions during peak confinement on April 7. Emissions from industry and from power together account for a further 43% of the decrease in daily global emissions.

Aviation is the economic sector most impacted by the lockdown, but it only accounts for 3% of global emissions, or 10% of the decrease in emissions during the pandemic.

The increase in the use of residential buildings from people working at home only marginally offset the drop in emissions from other sectors.

In individual countries, emissions decreased by 26% on average at the peak of their confinement.

The analysis also shows that social responses alone, without increases in wellbeing and/or supporting infrastructure, will not drive the deep and sustained reductions needed to reach net zero emissions.

Prof Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia, in the UK, led the analysis. She said: “Population confinement has led to drastic changes in energy use and CO2 emissions. These extreme decreases are likely to be temporary though, as they do not reflect structural changes in the economic, transport, or energy systems.

“The extent to which world leaders consider climate change when planning their economic responses post COVID-19 will influence the global CO2 emissions paths for decades to come.

“Opportunities exist to make real, durable, changes and be more resilient to future crises, by implementing economic stimulus packages that also help meet climate targets, especially for mobility, which accounts for half the decrease in emissions during confinement.

“For example in cities and suburbs, supporting walking and cycling, and the uptake of electric bikes, is far cheaper and better for wellbeing and air quality than building roads, and it preserves social distancing.”

The team analysed government policies on confinement for 69 countries responsible for 97% of global CO2 emissions. At the peak of the confinement, regions responsible for 89% of global CO2 emissions were under some level of restriction. Data on activities indicative of how much each economic sector was affected by the pandemic was then used to estimate the change in fossil CO2 emissions for each day and country from January to April 2020.

The estimated total change in emissions from the pandemic amounts to 1048 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) until the end of April. Of this, the changes are largest in China where the confinement started, with a decrease of 242 MtCO2, then in the US (207 MtCO2), Europe (123 MtCO2), and India (98 MtCO2). The total change in the UK for January-April 2020 is an estimated 18 MtCO2.

The impact of confinement on 2020 annual emissions is projected to be around 4% to 7% compared to 2019, depending on the duration of the lockdown and the extent of the recovery. If pre-pandemic conditions of mobility and economic activity return by mid-June, the decline would be around 4%. If some restrictions remain worldwide until the end of the year, it would be around 7%.

This annual drop is comparable to the amount of annual emission reductions needed year-on-year across decades to achieve the climate objectives of UN Paris Agreement.

Prof Rob Jackson of Stanford University and Chair of the Global Carbon Project who co-authored the analysis, added: “The drop in emissions is substantial but illustrates the challenge of reaching our Paris climate commitments. We need systemic change through green energy and electric cars, not temporary reductions from enforced behavior.”

The authors warn that the rush for economic stimulus packages must not make future emissions higher by delaying New Green Deals or weakening emissions standards.


‘Temporary reduction in daily global CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement’, Corinne Le Quéré, Robert B. Jackson, Matthew W. Jones, Adam J. P. Smith, Sam Abernethy, Robbie M. Andrew, Anthony J. De-Gol, David R. Willis, Yuli Shan, Josep G. Canadell, Pierre Friedlingstein, Felix Creutzig, Glen P. Peters, is published in Nature Climate Change on May 19.

The research received support from the Royal Society, the European Commission projects 4C, VERIFY and CHE, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Australian National Environmental Science Program.

From EurekAlert!

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May 19, 2020 2:13 pm

Yet Mauna Loa measurements continue to increase at the same rate, falsifying AGW.

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
May 19, 2020 2:43 pm

Our carbon dioxide emissions are but a tiny fraction of the natural ones, too small to be observable on a short time scale. Therefore, this does not falsify AGW.

William Astley
Reply to  Scissor
May 19, 2020 5:40 pm


Come on. If our carbon dioxide are but a tiny fraction of the natural ones.

And the observation that a step change of 17% in human emissions makes absolutely no change in the CO2 rise is one of a dozen independent observations that support Salby’s assertion that atmospheric CO2 concentration is tracking temperature, not human emissions.

The IPCC assumptions for CO2 sinks and sources is called the Bern equation.

This is an excellent review of the sciency monkey business concerning “Carbon cycle modelling and the residence time of natural and anthropogenic atmospheric CO2: on the construction of the “Greenhouse Effect Global Warming” dogma.

The Bern assumes zero biological material, particular organic carbon, is being sequestered in the ocean.

The below linked to recent observation that C14 is making to the deepest ocean with no delay is an observational fact that absolutely disproves the CAGW team created absurdly non-physical so-called Bern model of CO2 sinks and sources and resident times.

The Bern model assumes that ocean circulation (with hundreds of years delay) is the only method for deep sequestration of CO2 in the ocean.

The alleged long lifetime of 500 years for carbon diffusing to the deep ocean is of no relevance to the debate on the fate of anthropogenic CO2 and the “Greenhouse Effect”, because POC (particular organic carbon; carbon pool of about 1000 giga-tonnes; some 130% of the atmospheric carbon pool) can sink to the bottom of the ocean in less than a year (Toggweiler, 1990).

Bomb C14 Found in Ocean Deepest Trenches

‘Bomb Carbon’ from Cold War Nuclear Tests Found in the Ocean’s Deepest Trenches

Bottom feeders
Organic matter in the amphipods’ guts held carbon-14, but the carbon-14 levels in the amphipods’ bodies were much higher. Over time, a diet rich in carbon-14 likely flooded the amphipods’ tissues with bomb carbon, the scientists concluded.

Ocean circulation alone would take centuries to carry bomb carbon to the deep sea. But thanks to the ocean food chain, bomb carbon arrived at the seafloor far sooner than expected, lead study author Ning Wang, a geochemist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou, said in a statement.

Reply to  William Astley
May 19, 2020 6:22 pm

See John Shotsky’s post below or review what Roy Spencer has posted on the subject. Our contribution makes up a small fraction of the global CO2 flux and over short periods is simply lost in the noise.

The Bern model, which is mostly ridiculous, concerns longer periods.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Scissor
May 19, 2020 8:01 pm

From a non-technical standpoint, the argument I have seen repeatedly is that we are almost wholly responsible for the increase of CO2, and therefore warming, if you believe warming follows CO2 increase.
If we cut our CO2 emissions drastically and there is no measurable change in rate of increase of CO2 this has to show that the basic hypothesis is wrong.
I agree that we are only responsible for only a fraction of the CO2 increase, but if that is so doesn’t that invalidate the entire theory?

Reply to  Scissor
May 19, 2020 8:32 pm

It’s a noisy signal. Picking a small change in such a signal is never easy.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Scissor
May 20, 2020 9:33 am

MarkW yet climate “scientists” are capable of finding small changes in the anthropogenic fingerprint at the drop of a hat 🙂

Reply to  William Astley
May 20, 2020 12:07 am

I would agree with Astley.

It is said that it is difficult for the oceans to absorb all that CO2 during an ice age (over 80,000 years or so), and so they invent iron fertilisation of the oceans to sequester that CO2 and take it down the seabed.

However, during an interglacial, all of that CO2 gets back into the atmosphere within 5,000 years. So we can be sure that:

a. Sequestration by marine organisms is not the process by which ice age CO2 concentrations reduce. Because organism-sequestered CO2 on the seabed cannot be easily released again during an interglacial.

b. If the ice age CO2 sink is actually controlled by oceanic absorption, then the process can happen very quickly – during each interglacial it produced a 120 ppm increase within 5,000 years.


Reply to  William Astley
May 20, 2020 5:13 am

“The estimated total change in emissions from the pandemic amounts to 1048 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) until the end of April.”

“Estimated” is not factually measured!
These yahoos made a self satisfaction model, not a factual measurement of the globe’s atmosphere.

Reply to  Scissor
May 20, 2020 12:57 am

I can’t believe you actually said that.

Read what you wrote and then, for the first time in your life, think about what you just wrote.

Chris Wright
Reply to  Scissor
May 20, 2020 3:09 am

Very true.
Human emissions are about 3% of total emissions. So a 17% fall in that value would lead to an absolute fall of 3 * 17 / 100, which is about 0.5%
This tiny change feeds into a very complex process (the carbon cycle). I doubt that we could detect such a small change, at least over a period of a few months.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Scissor
May 20, 2020 10:13 am


You claimed, “Our carbon dioxide emissions are but a tiny fraction of the natural ones, too small to be observable on a short time scale.” In actuality, the concentration of CO2 has been increasing by about 2 PPMV per year over the past 2 decades, or about 2/12 (17%) per month. The change is commonly attributed to anthropogenic CO2. It is commonly accepted that about half of the anthropogenic CO2 that is emitted ends up in the atmosphere. The mechanism behind the ability to measure the change is presumed to be a Carbon Cycle that was in equilibrium before Man invented fire, or at least before Man invented internal combustion engines powered by fossil fuels. The 3% contribution (of the total cycle) of anthropogenic CO2 is presumed to be showing up because it has de-stabilized the Carbon Cycle. We measure the CO2 to at least +/-0.05 PPMV. There is little time lag in the natural cycle, as demonstrated by the draw-down in CO2 when trees in the northern hemisphere leaf out in May.

The article claimed that there was a world-wide decrease [mostly in the northern hemisphere] of about CO2. Assuming that the Carbon Cycle is buffered to the extent that only half goes into the atmosphere, isn’t it reasonable that half of a decrease should show up in the atmosphere? So, a decline of 17% should be about half of what the atmospheric concentration usually increases monthly. Why would that not be observable when measurements record changes of 0.1 PPMV?

Reply to  Scissor
May 20, 2020 11:28 am

Scissor, remember, wenn CO2 at Mauna Loa hit 400 ppm, the media was full of scare stories, about reaching this level of 400 ppm which was really dangerous, And higher values, now 417 ppm were man-made to a good, large percentage and are not “a tiny fraction”, as you put it. The sense of “saving CO2-emission” is not to save “a tiny fraction” but to bring the entire 417 ppm down back to 400 ppm or even less.
If shutting down half of the global economy for 3 month only achieves a reduction of “a tiny fraction” and does not bring the Mauna Loa level down to 400 ppm makes the whole CO2-“saving” entirely baseless, because the world climate cannot be saved by tiny fractions.

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
May 19, 2020 2:57 pm

17% would sure as hell be noticeable

Reply to  Latitude
May 19, 2020 3:07 pm

It’s 17% of about 3%, or about 0.5% absolute.

If you had 100 pennies in a pocket, could you tell if less than 1 were missing?

Reply to  Scissor
May 19, 2020 4:53 pm

If fossil fuel CO2 is 3% of the flow into the atmosphere and is well mixed then it will eventually become 3% of the total as the residence time in the atmosphere is about 4 years. That’s about 12PPM for today’s concentration. No one can quantify the sources and sinks of nature well enough to get the error bars smaller than our contribution so all we can say about it is CO2 concentration is increasing. Some of that increase is man made and it is about 3% of the increase. It is not all of the increase.

Reply to  DMA
May 19, 2020 6:16 pm

We are talking about a flux.

Reply to  DMA
May 19, 2020 6:25 pm

I’m only commenting on the ability to detect a fall in CO2 concentration over the past couple of months due to our lower consumption of fossil fuels.

John Finn
Reply to  DMA
May 20, 2020 1:04 am

If fossil fuel CO2 is 3% of the flow into the atmosphere and is well mixed then it will eventually become 3% of the total as the residence time in the atmosphere is about 4 years.

Indeed but that’s because the natural CO2 which would normally be ‘re-absorbed’ by the land & oceans is replaced by ‘human’ CO2 . The net effect is an increase in the atmosphere.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Scissor
May 20, 2020 10:17 am

You asked, “If you had 100 pennies in a pocket, could you tell if less than 1 were missing?” That is a poor analogy because the actual measurements are changes of 0.1 PPMV out of ~400 PPMV.

John Finn
Reply to  Latitude
May 19, 2020 3:08 pm

No it wouldn’t. I doubt if 17% over the whole year would be noticeable.

Reply to  Latitude
May 20, 2020 2:39 am

It has to be. If 2% a year can give the very obvious post 400 ppm change in five years, then 17% in on hit has to be visible.

John Finn
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
May 19, 2020 3:04 pm

What exactly were you expecting to see?

According to the UEA, emissions are at the same level that they were in 2006. Atmospheric CO2 was increasing in 2006.

Why on earth do you think it wouldn’t increase in 2020. CO2 emissions cause a NET increase of about 2 ppm per annum so if emissions fell by 17% for the entire year the increase this year might only be 1.66 ppm .

I can’t understand why people struggle with this

Reply to  John Finn
May 19, 2020 3:38 pm

I don’t either. It’s not like we’re that much smarter, or maybe we are.

Reply to  Scissor
May 19, 2020 8:36 pm

Some people are so desperate to prove that man isn’t responsible for the increase in temperatures, that they will latch onto anything, even bad science, that proves what they want to believe.

Look at how viciously those who believe that CO2 is responsible for only a few tenths of a degree of warming are attacked by the sky dragons.

Reply to  MarkW
May 20, 2020 9:10 am

Tyndall first proved that CO2 does not raise the temperature of its source of radiation.

A blanket absorbs even better than CO2, and it too does not raise the temperature of its source of radiation.

But some people are so desperate to prove that it does.

They invented conservation of heat flow to prove the source increases in temperature, yet there is not one experiment to prove it.

Sick desperate people!

Reply to  John Finn
May 19, 2020 4:24 pm

CO2 emissions cause a NET increase of about 2 ppm per annum

Are you saying the increase is due to human emissions? Of course any source of emissions contributes to the trend, but if human emissions are such a small fraction of total emissions, then can we attribute an increase to the human ones?

Reply to  Juice
May 19, 2020 6:37 pm

From mass balance of fossil fuels and land use changes, people emit enough CO2 to raise atmospheric composition by about 4 or 5 ppm annually and yet a lower rise is observed.

Nature acts as a net sink for our emissions obviously. The hypothesis is that we threw nature out of balance. Personally, I suspect that the biosphere is mass limited in CO2. Just think if nature was removing 2 ppm of CO2/year for 150 years without us. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 would fall below that needed to support life.

John Finn
Reply to  Juice
May 20, 2020 12:58 am

Your comment has been answered by Scissor May 19, 2020 at 6:37 pm

Basically, the annual carbon cycle has kept atmospheric CO2 roughly in balance for several thousand years (ice core data) but an up ward trend has been detected since the late 19th century.

Martin Cornell
Reply to  John Finn
May 19, 2020 5:56 pm

They can’t understand because the adjective “anthropogenic” is missing. And because only 48% of anthropogenic emissions are retained in the atmosphere; the rest is sequestered in the oceans and the biosphere. They can’t understand because the media refuse to put man’s CO2 emissions into the perspective of being less than 4% of total emissions.

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  John Finn
May 19, 2020 10:01 pm

I agree that the drop of 17% in human emissions essentially being immeasurable in the atmospheric CO2 data does NOT falsify the AGW hypothesis.

However, it does weaken the hypothesis of the alarmists that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are the temperature control knob of the planet.

If human emissions are the sole factor driving an increase of 2 ppm per year, then a 17% drop should easily be seen in the data. The NET increase in CO2 is the balance after all of the sources and all of the sinks do their work over the course of the year. The sinks are clearly not keeping up with the sources.

Consider a 100W heater in a small fish tank as the as the analogy to human CO2 emissions controlling the temperature of the planet.

Due to heat loss to the surrounding air, it takes 90 watts of power to keep our fish tank at 80 degrees – in a room with an air temperature of 50 degrees. Obviously, the heater must run 90% of the time to keep the fish tank at the correct temperature.

Now consider that one heater element burns out, resulting in a 17% loss of total output. The heater can now only generate 83 watts of power. This has a HUGE and measurable effect on the temperature. The fish tank will not only NOT stay warm, but the water temperature will actually drop until it reaches an equilibrium temperature where the heat loss equals 83 watts.

Clearly the planet has LOTS of “fish tank heaters” acting as CO2 sources. Otherwise, a 17% drop in output of the dominant CO2 source would clearly be visible in the data, no matter how noisy.

Reply to  Pillage Idiot
May 20, 2020 1:35 am

I was agreeing with you until your “100W heater in a small fish tank” analogy. The 17% reduction is only to the annual emission not the total concentration. Given the noisily increasing rate – the last 4 years are: 2.99, 1.89, 2.86 and 2.46
at the end of the year will the 17% reduction even be discernible?

John B
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
May 20, 2020 4:08 am

‘ The estimated total change in emissions…’

Ah. Estimated, so not reality.

Computer model?

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
May 20, 2020 11:27 am

No, in part because what’s been kiboshed with the virus is a lot of travel, both air and ground. Yet air cargo still flies and trucks and essential workers are still on the roads. Amazon is delivering. Power is still being generated in power plants. Ships are still plying the seas. People are still burning fires and people are still exhaling co2. People are still making concrete.

Now this isn’t to say that the “study” isn’t flawed. They measured precisely dick. They did a lot of estimating (guessing.) And they used dubious proxies to do the guesswork. But I suppose that if you look at EIA data and their suppositions of where energy is used, you could probably guesstimate 10%-15% just on that.

I sure hope this isn’t my tax $ at work.

Pariah Dog
May 19, 2020 2:14 pm

And yet this shut-down has not made the slightest dent in CO2 concentration as measured at Mauna Loa. Stick a fork in it, it’s done!

Reply to  Pariah Dog
May 19, 2020 6:02 pm

Pariah Dog,

I agree. The 17% decrease in emissions should have shown as some sort of blip in the yearly eight-month rise, ( not necessarily a decrease; perhaps as a slightly smaller increase). Instead the blip was a greater increase than we saw last year.

Now we will see the yearly four-month fall, which is caused by CO2-gobbling plants in the vast land areas of the Northern Hemisphere during our summer.

In other words, plants have an effect which is quite visible, while mankind has an effect which is invisible….or…..

Or the rising levels of CO2 has nothing to with mankind, and instead is a result of SST increasing as a side effect of weaker Trade Winds due to less energy arriving from the Quiet Sun. Warmer SST means the ocean can absorb less CO2.

Reply to  Pariah Dog
May 19, 2020 6:12 pm

Is there a way to get to the bottom of the discrepancy in measurements?

Gerry Parker
Reply to  Sommer
May 19, 2020 8:06 pm

Yes. “It’s worse than we thought…”

You know it’s coming.

Gerry Parker

May 19, 2020 2:15 pm

And yet not a lick of difference to atmo CO2 ppm…

John Finn
Reply to  Zoe Phin
May 19, 2020 3:05 pm

For crying out loud – why would there be?

Reply to  John Finn
May 19, 2020 8:05 pm

Correct – there shouldn’t, but making an indisputable fact clear is opposite of the actual goal.

This post is just the latest in a series of Covid/CO2 dog-whistles to which the correct response seems to be either: “see, this is a taste of what they (the bad guys) have in for you long term…” or alternatively; “see, Mauna Loa hasn’t budged, so much for our alarming emissions – its all natural…”. At the end of the day its tawdry doubt-mongering. Pariah and Zoe are clearly in the latter cohort, but take your pick.

Reply to  Zoe Phin
May 19, 2020 6:10 pm

What probably does matter are significantly fewer clouds now, in the form of drastically fewer contrails created by commercial flights. It is reported that 60% of the commercial fleet is currently parked idle. Clouds are known (not just suspected) of cooling the troposphere and surface. Recently a near record high local temperature for the date of 87 f. was predicted by the NWS. The actual temperature reached 80 f. Our ace TV meteorologist explained that “there were more clouds than expected”.

Reply to  Zoe Phin
May 19, 2020 8:53 pm

Let’s say we stop all burning of fossil fuels, and completely go to renewables, AND CO2 continues to go up?

What then?

Bryan A
May 19, 2020 2:24 pm

So what’s needed is to FORCE everyone that can to work from home if their job allows it (computer related work)
AND to FORCE everyone that can not work from home to relocate within walking or biking distance to their jobs…
Also to restructure society such that all necessary goods and services (Grocery Stores, Clothing Stores, Restaurants, Doctor’s Offices, Hospitals, etc.) are within walking distance from their homes

Andre Den Tandt
Reply to  Bryan A
May 19, 2020 3:50 pm

Been there, done that. World War 2 did that to us in Belgium. Good luck with it. You’ll need it.

Reply to  Bryan A
May 19, 2020 4:52 pm

Climate change: Scientists fear car surge will see CO2 rebound
[..]Road transport has declined hugely, as has aviation.
However, now that the UK is beginning to return to work, [UK Transport Secretary] Mr Shapps said people should drive to work rather than use public transport, should walking or cycling not be an option.
“If you can’t walk or cycle but you do have access to a car, please use it rather than travelling by bus, train or tram,” he said.[..]
Not just the UK, I suspect.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Mike Jonas
May 19, 2020 5:25 pm

No, not just the UK. The same is occurring in Australia. Given the woefully poor public transport, this may be welcomed, but then the woefully poor road infrastructure (even those with huge tolls) it will not be easy.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Bryan A
May 20, 2020 4:33 am

Bryan A, I hope you forgot the “/sarc”.

Bryan A
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
May 20, 2020 5:26 am

Thought about that after posting

Reply to  Bryan A
May 20, 2020 7:34 am

… and don’t forget that everyone will have to have a garden to grow their own food + a few rabbit hutches for stew. We can’t have farmers belching tons of carbon into the atmosphere as they plow, plant, and harvest food for the rest of the world.

Bryan A
May 19, 2020 2:28 pm

And another thing, you would also need to FORCE the stranding of all current ICE vehicles and make everyone buy the far more expensive and less utilitarian Battery EV’s
Not to mention the entire Airline Fleet would need to be replaced with nonexistent electric versions

John Shotsky
May 19, 2020 2:36 pm

Annually, 36 billion tons of Co2 are emitted. This 17 million tons is not even in the noise level.

Reply to  John Shotsky
May 19, 2020 2:55 pm

Yes. I don’t believe that science is ever settled, but it seems like this particular topic has to be re-framed again and again. Somewhere within the science and engineering of signal processing and detection theory, there is a principle that detection of a small signal in the presence of a large amount of noise is difficult if not impossible.

May 19, 2020 2:37 pm

The Covid Lockdowns have given us a unique opportunity to finally assess the human v natural CO2 in the atmosphere… They have been abrupt, totally global and lengthy…
They have had ZERO impact on atmospheric CO2 levels…
This has to be the BIGGEST climate change story of our lifetime ????
Surely now the AGW theory is dead?
Why is more not being made of this unique moment out history to take out the guessing, the scary predictions or theories – we have raw daily data and by now if the human Footprint was as large as claimed would have adjusted the Keeling Curve…
It hasn’t and more needs to made of this fact

Reply to  TimBo
May 19, 2020 3:51 pm
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Scissor
May 20, 2020 10:26 am

I read Roy’s analysis and wasn’t convinced. I’ve had a nagging feeling that it was wrong. See my comments to you at the beginning of this thread.

May 19, 2020 2:47 pm

It took shutting down nearly the entire worlds economy to get an emissions reduction of only 17% …

BTW, this does look like it shows up in Moana Loa, as the delta from the peak in 2019 to the peak in 2020 which has just passed, is a tiny bit smaller than the peak delta from 2018 to 2019. None the less, the biological signature is far more evident.

May 19, 2020 2:48 pm

Total atmospheric CO2 quantity is over 3100 gigatonnes.
Annual CO2 exchange between surface and atmosphere is at least 750 gigatonnes, roughly evenly split between oceans and land biology.
The IPCC says human contribution is about 4 percent of the total exchange rate, about 30 gigatonnes per year.

The prof says the “crisis” has reduced total CO2 emissions by 1 gigatonne as of April.
No surprise that apparent CO2 in the atmosphere is unchanged.

May 19, 2020 2:54 pm

First of all this “study” is a WAG, wild ass guess, as to what decreases actually happened with CO2. And as noted above, did not make a noticeable dent in atmospheric CO2 measurements thereby falsifying the AGW theory. The oceans are warming and giving out CO2. All natural. Nothing to do with what we do.

Tom Panic
Reply to  JimG1
May 19, 2020 3:52 pm

Ohh JimG1, respect where it is due mate. Don’t you mean SWAG?? That would be Scientific Wild Ass Guess!!

Martin Fisher
May 19, 2020 2:57 pm

If one reads the report it is all *estimated* since ” but the influence of the natural variability of the carbon cycle and meteorology is large and masks the variability in anthropogenic signal over a short period”

May 19, 2020 3:15 pm

I don’t like re-posting stuff, but it seems some people need to read it.

Michael in Dublin
May 19, 2020 3:25 pm

I remember reading a book, “Coral: A Pessimist in Paradise.” While neither a biologist nor scientist, I could not help notice how the writer confidently bandied around huge numbers. He spoke not of 3 billion but 3430 million years. He wrote not of 250 million but “The great extinction at the end of the Permian period, 251 million years ago, meant that for long ages the reefs went backwards.”

When the journal Nature Climate Change “shows that daily emissions decreased by 17% – or 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide” I have to wonder if they were able to reliably measure both, before and after the lockdown? For the English scientist, Michael Faraday, it was important to always cross-examine an assertion. I am unable to cross-examine this claim but it looks fishy. I have to depend on other readers with insight to explain with simple analogies if this is credible or not.

Ron Long
May 19, 2020 3:28 pm

This is a test drive for the AOC Green Weenie Deal, this is what the AGW crowd wants, and it sure as hell isn’t what any person who wants to work and achieve something wants. Look at the comments above, a lot of denial about the obvious Reality Check: either CO2 isn’t important (except for plant food) or human activity isn’t producing a dangerous amount of CO2. If this level of shutdown doesn’t produce any carbon neutral signature, and this is an awful event, then what is it the AGW crowd wants? Give the planet back to the animals? Yikes!

Reply to  Ron Long
May 19, 2020 4:33 pm

The core AGW crowd wants power and control, just like any other political faction, but since their goals, methods and ideology will never be acceptable on merit, they resort to lies, bullying, name calling and scare tactics. The clear and present danger is that these tactics have led to the political left world wide, most of the global media and far too many otherwise intelligent people becoming their useful idiots.

Chris Hanley
May 19, 2020 3:31 pm

“We need systemic change through green energy and electric cars, not temporary reductions from enforced behavior” (Prof Rob Jackson).
Professor Jackson who has a B.S. in chemical engineering (1983) must have some inkling how impossible that is given the relative energy densities batteries vs. hydrocarbons together with the material requirements of modern batteries.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 19, 2020 6:42 pm

Prof Jackson is under the mistaken belief that we are subject to Paris commitments.

May 19, 2020 3:35 pm

This is a supremely silly article, based on suspicions instead of facts. I’m cheering on CO2 rises, especially here in Dorset where the cider apple-trees drink it in. Happily, the statistics from Hawaii suggest that all is well in the atmosphere

Reply to  Iain
May 19, 2020 6:43 pm

A glass of cold fresh apple cider sounds delicious.

James Clarke
May 19, 2020 3:40 pm

“Therefore, this does not falsify AGW.”

No. AGW is not science and cannot be falsified by anything…like religion. That has been demonstrated over and over again.

Reply to  James Clarke
May 19, 2020 5:03 pm


AGW is a physical reality, for example, UHI and to a lesser extent CO2 emissions. A belief in CAGW caused by CO2 emissions is the religion. Please don’t conflate the two, it only invites claims of denying science.

Even though CAGW is a religion, it can be falsified by applying the laws of physics to the presumed ECS that supports it. In other words, the large ECS they worship can be proven to be false.

All Joules are the same when it comer to warming the surface and sustaining its warmth. The next one will have the same effect as the average one which when normalized over time and space is 1.62 W/m^2 of surface emissions per W/m^2 of solar forcing. This average ratio is demonstrably independent of temperature, topography or the total solar forcing by being relatively constant from pole to pole.

The lower bound of the IPCC’s presumed ECS is 0.4C per W/m^2 which results in a surface emissions increase of about 2.2 W/m^2 which is already well above the average. Their upper bound is absolutely absurd at 6.6 W/m^2 of surface emissions per W/m^2 of forcing,

The nail in the coffin is proof that the maximum possible theoretical ECS, when expressed in the power domain, is 2 W/m^2 of surface emissions per W/m^2 of forcing falsifying the entire range of ECS presumed by the IPCC. The only reason the IPCC uses a temperature output instead of an equivalent power density output is because the nominal 0.8C per W/m^2 of forcing sounds plausible, while its equivalent of 4.4 W/m^2 of surface emissions per W/m^2 of forcing is obviously impossible.

May 19, 2020 3:52 pm

“University of East Anglia The COVID-19 global lockdown has had an “extreme” effect on daily carbon emissions”

And how has that impacted atmospheric CO2 concentration?

Howard Dewhirst
May 19, 2020 4:33 pm

But it did not cause a drop in atmospheric CO2

Tom In Indy
May 19, 2020 4:42 pm

The point to be broadcast is that after all the pain and anguish caused by government restrictions due to Covid19, earthlings barely moved the CO2 needle.

In other words, the various forms of suffering inflicted by governments during the Covid Recession was tiny compared to the pain humans must endure to reduce CO2 emissions to a point that satisfies the Globalist Greens. (In theory…..)

Tom Bakewell
May 19, 2020 5:11 pm

UEA = Underfunded Expense Appeal

May 19, 2020 5:34 pm

I am glad the have said publicly it has had an “extreme” effect, because the impact on overall CO2 has been zero.

The are vividly demonstrating that all the contortions and expense directed at lowering human CO2 is pointless in terms of their overall objective. Setting aside for a moment that the objective is pointless.

Doug Lavers
May 19, 2020 8:10 pm

The key point is that an alleged 17% drop in human CO2 emissions is not detectible by the Mauna Loa instruments.

This almost certainly indicates that if the human race reduced its emissions to zero, it would have a miniscule effect on atmospheric concentrations.

Most of the human race would be on a subsistemce or worst existence.

And it demonstrates that human emission control efforts are completely pointless.

May 19, 2020 8:31 pm

Would the ratio of C-12/C-14 be sensitive enough to see a difference?

May 19, 2020 10:58 pm

So, the planetary lockdown, which has been a complete failure with respect to the SARS-COV2 but brutally hurted billions, killed hundreds of thousands and have decreased the life expectancy of millions has nevertheless shown that Humans have no measurable effect on atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Since the clear objective of this bunch of Malthusian psychopaths is to cull the population and that the CO2 fairy tale is over, I wonder what will be their next move … the “sun lockdown” causing cold, crop failure and famine ?

Perhaps, 50 years after Paul R. Ehrlich ridiculous statements about the “Population Bomb” and the ice age Humans could cause, we are again entering in an ice age scam period ?

I googled “sun lockdown” … and it seems that the usual fear-mongers are already pushing a new fear and I bet they will make Humans accountable again, as they did 50 years ago.

This bunch of crooks just have to replace “CO2” with “aerosols” and “CAGW” with CAIA (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Ice Age).

Neil Jones
May 19, 2020 11:41 pm

If you look at the year on year trends there is a downturn at this time of year every previous year too.

May 20, 2020 2:37 am

If 2% a year increase in man made CO2 is enough to visibly take the graph from 400 to 415 ppm in the 2014 – 2019 period, a 17% drop in spring 2020 will definitely show up.

What the heck is going on? Something is not right here. Is the natural CO2 process so big that man made CO2 is not detectable, and that almost all CO2 increase is due to natural processes?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Matt_S
May 20, 2020 4:43 am

According to the esteemed Scissors, John Finn and Loydo, only the small rise in anthropogenic CO2 is detectable. A large drop is undetectable as it is just noise. They must have missed the mathematical logic class when they were in school.

Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
May 20, 2020 5:20 am

Thank you. They appear to be unable to see that point.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
May 20, 2020 10:32 am

Play Nice
See my challenge to Scissor at the top of the comments.

Reply to  Matt_S
May 20, 2020 9:52 am

Henry’s law, applied to the oceans (71% of the Earth’s surface) and the sea surface temperatures dictate the atmospheric / oceanic CO2 equilibrium.

Humans are a minor player.

Should we stop emitting CO2, the oceans would compensate in a snap, emitting more CO2 so as to tend towards atmospheric / oceanic CO2 equilibrium. The CO2 concentration deviation would be almost unnoticeable.

Same thing if we increase our CO2 emissions :
1) some would be absorbed by the vegetal biomass,
2) another by oceans so as to tend towards atmospheric / oceanic CO2 equilibrium.

Is that a problem ?
1) More vegetation, a greener planet is good for all the being on Earth.
2) There is 50 times more dissolved (ionic) CO2 in the oceans than in the atmosphere and the excess (if any) precipitates (for example, reacting with calcium and forming CaCO3) :

CO2 (gaz) + H2O ⇋ H2CO3 (soluble)
H2CO3 + H2O ⇋ HCO3– + H3O+
Ca2+ + 2 HCO3– → CaCO3 (insoluble) + H2CO3.

Other chemical reactions are at stake in the oceans that maintain the ionic CO2 concentration whatever the oceans absorb from our emissions (CaCO3 precipitation is not the only one).

Oceans’ volume is 1,3 billions km^3 … therefore, there is nothing we can do to change those equilibriums, and thus, we can’t neither influence the atmospheric CO2 concentration in a measurable way.

In conclusion, by emitting CO2, Humans contribute to a greener planet and to the carbon cycle as does any being on Earth since billions years.

So, is that a problem ? No, it isn’t. It’s rather a blessing :
– Mother Nature is definitively Human-proof !

Reply to  Petit_Barde
May 22, 2020 4:34 am

And sea surface is driven by incoming visible light.

Yep, makes sense.

Douglas Brodie
May 20, 2020 1:05 pm

The Keeling Curve has been rising steeply and fairly evenly since 1958, supposedly because human emissions have upset the balance of natural CO2 fluxes. However human CO2 emissions in the late 1950s were only about a quarter of what they were last year.

Based on the numbers in this article, continuation of the year to date (end April) 1048 MtCO2 reduction to the end of the year would be a reduction of about 3 GtCO2, around 8% on last year’s emissions and about 30% on 1958 emissions. If such a reduction is too insignificant to show up on the Keeling Curve how many more years of such reductions, roughly what the UN IPCC wants every year to achieve Net Zero, would it take to see any difference?

Or could it be that the establishment theory is wrong and that the change in atmospheric CO2 is in lockstep with SST temperature in both the short-term and the longer-term, perhaps going back to the Little Ice Age recovery, see

May 20, 2020 1:50 pm

Also, almost zero ozone reductions. (recall, those of you with knowledge of science, that ozone results from an interaction of sunlight with nitrogen oxides in vehicle exhausts. Also, ozone causes lung damage, especially in children or the physically active).

No ozone reductions is due to the net increase in truck mileage.

Joe Ebeni
May 22, 2020 4:17 am

I’m not a climate scientist but I can read stuff. Human emissions down 17%?
Mauna Loa Daily readings
May. 20, 2020 417.06 ppm
May. 20, 2019 414.73 ppm
1 Year Change 2.33 ppm (0.56%)

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