Essay by Eric Worrall
CSIRO Chief Climate Scientist Pep Canadell lamenting the lost emissions reductions of the Covid Lockdowns.
Climate change targets achievable by keeping global emissions to COVID levels, scientists say
To keep climate change within limits that we can reasonably adapt to, the world needs to cut emissions at nearly the same rate it did during the peak of the global COVID–19 pandemic, scientists say.
- Relative CO2 emissions dropped more between 2019 and 2020 than at any other time in recorded modern history
- Climate scientists say driving down emissions by a similar percentage each year, by transforming to a clean energy economy, could keep warming to around 1.5C
- The climate emergency needs to be handled with the same urgency as the pandemic, they warn
Between 2019 and 2020, global carbon dioxide emissions experienced the largest single year-on-year decline ever recorded — 6.3 per cent — dwarfing dips during both the global financial crisis of 2008, and the estimated decline following the end of World War II.
If we could continue that trend every year, we’d be able to limit warming to around 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to the international team of scientists, who published their findings today in Nature Geoscience.
“It’s not just individuals doing their part to reduce how much they travel — those sorts of things are not the solutions.
“We need a planned transition across society to implement the changes that are needed.”
It’s also important to note that we would need to see this type of reduction in emissions compounded each consecutive year as we drive towards net zero, she said.
“It is a really interesting example that shows you what it means when scientists say we need ambitious and immediate action to [combat climate change].”
The problem of course is that in the economic rebound that followed COVID restrictions, emissions have again headed north, Dr Canadell said.
“We missed an opportunity and made decisions that weren’t the best for a green recovery.“
“This tells you that the massive change we saw in the economy — in this case because we were shutting it down — an equivalent change needs to happen in the decarbonisation of the world,” said study co-author Pep Canadell from the CSIRO.
Read more: https://amp.abc.net.au/article/101192612
Although Pep currently works for the CSIRO, Pep got his qualifications at the University of Barcelona, Spain. So I’m guessing he’s no stranger to those air travel emissions he would like the rest of us to cut back on.
Pep avoids calling for people to be deprived of private vehicle ownership or whatever, but there seems no other practical means to achieve the kind of climate lockdown emissions cuts Pep is demanding. Likely there is no practical means of making such cuts. Even if people switched from automobiles back to horses, horse manure produces an awful lot of methane.
Update (EW): Davidmhoffer makes a good point, about the lack of impact the great Covid lockdown had on global CO2 levels.