Pandemic lockdowns and a steep drop in air travel and driving led to a 7% global reduction in carbon dioxide emissions this year, the biggest drop ever, new preliminary figures from the Global Carbon Project show. But there's still 1,185 tons of the heat-trapping gas going into the air every second.
The Global Carbon Project, an authoritative group of dozens of international scientists who track emissions, calculated that the world will have put 37 billion U.S. tons (34 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide in the air in 2020. That's down from 40.1 billion US tons (36.4 billion metric tons) in 2019, according a study published Thursday in the journal Earth System Science Data.
Scientists say this drop is chiefly because people are staying home, traveling less by car and plane, and that emissions are expected to jump back up after the pandemic ends. Ground transportation makes up about one-fifth of emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief man-made heat-trapping gas.
(…) The same group of scientists months ago predicted emission drops of 4% to 7%, depending on the progression of COVID-19. A second coronavirus wave and continued travel reductions pushed the decrease to 7%, LeQuere said.
Read more at the Associated Press: World carbon dioxide emissions drop 7% in pandemic-hit 2020 (reporting by SETH BORENSTEIN)