First the good news on Earth Day. Global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to fall by 6 percent this year, the highest drop since World War II. Now the bad news, this is only a short-lived gain. Global levels are expected to reach the former highs and may even cross earlier figures once nations opened up their economy, warned Professor Petteri Taalas, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General as reported by the UN News.
“There might even be a boost in emissions because some of the industries have been stopped”, he cautioned.
It was earlier reported on the WMO website that the the world body expects a 5.5 to 5.7 percent fall in carbon dioxide emissions. The fall is due to the slowing down of the economy, lockdowns, and the closing of the industrial sector in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to localized improvements in the air quality on some places. However, this cannot last for long and will not work as an alternative to concentrated climate action by government across the world.
Professor Taalas was quoted by the website as saying, “Past experience suggests that emissions declines during economic crises are followed by a rapid upsurge. We need to change that trajectory.” The WMO’s Global Climate 2015-2019 report further explains why short-terms gains are inadequate. It is because the high level of carbon dioxide gas remains in the oceans and atmosphere for centuries. As a result, the fall in CO2 emissions, although significant, have not shown any impact on the climate.
For the latest updates on COVID-19, please visit the CDC link and the NIH link.