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No silver lining: The COVID-19 pandemic won’t slow climate change

No silver lining: The COVID-19 pandemic won't slow climate change

A one-year drop in decline in global CO2 emissions is in store. But is a full decade of comparable reductions of 8% each year even remotely likely?

The coronavirus pandemic still has a long way to go, despite widespread claims to the contrary, and the COVID-19 virus has already killed at least 300,000 people from all around the globe, about one-third of those fatalities just in the U.S.

There’s a widely reported direct relationship between the onset of this plague and the glimmer of good news concerning another global crisis also gathering force, climate change: The widespread stay-at-home practices that have slowed the virus have also led to a clearing of the air. Slowed vehicle, airplane, and ship traffic and decreased factory production have led to drops in air and water pollution worldwide.

As fellow YCC regular contributor Karin Kirk explained on this site last month, the International Energy Agency, IEA, has just forecast that carbon dioxide emissions emitted from the world’s smokestacks and tailpipes are projected to plunge by 8% this year. IEA predicts that the pandemic will remove 10 years of emissions growth practically in the blink of an eye, a drop bigger than at any point since World War II.