COVID-19 causes record decline in global CO2 emissions
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COVID-19 causes record decline in global CO2 emissions

  • Author(s): Liu, Zhu
  • Ciais, Philippe
  • Deng, Zhu
  • Lei, Ruixue
  • Davis, Steven J
  • Feng, Sha
  • Zheng, Bo
  • Cui, Duo
  • Dou, Xinyu
  • He, Pan
  • Zhu, Biqing
  • Lu, Chenxi
  • Ke, Piyu
  • Sun, Taochun
  • Wang, Yuan
  • Yue, Xu
  • Wang, Yilong
  • Lei, Yadong
  • Zhou, Hao
  • Cai, Zhaonan
  • Wu, Yuhui
  • Guo, Runtao
  • Han, Tingxuan
  • Xue, Jinjun
  • Boucher, Olivier
  • Boucher, Eulalie
  • Chevallier, Frederic
  • Wei, Yimin
  • Zhong, Haiwang
  • Kang, Chongqing
  • Zhang, Ning
  • Chen, Bin
  • Xi, Fengming
  • Marie, François
  • Zhang, Qiang
  • Guan, Dabo
  • Gong, Peng
  • Kammen, Daniel M
  • He, Kebin
  • Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim
  • et al.

The considerable cessation of human activities during the COVID-19 pandemic has affected global energy use and CO2 emissions. Here we show the unprecedented decrease in global fossil CO2 emissions from January to April 2020 was of 7.8% (938 Mt CO2 with a +6.8% of 2-{\sigma} uncertainty) when compared with the period last year. In addition other emerging estimates of COVID impacts based on monthly energy supply or estimated parameters, this study contributes to another step that constructed the near-real-time daily CO2 emission inventories based on activity from power generation (for 29 countries), industry (for 73 countries), road transportation (for 406 cities), aviation and maritime transportation and commercial and residential sectors emissions (for 206 countries). The estimates distinguished the decline of CO2 due to COVID-19 from the daily, weekly and seasonal variations as well as the holiday events. The COVID-related decreases in CO2 emissions in road transportation (340.4 Mt CO2, -15.5%), power (292.5 Mt CO2, -6.4% compared to 2019), industry (136.2 Mt CO2, -4.4%), aviation (92.8 Mt CO2, -28.9%), residential (43.4 Mt CO2, -2.7%), and international shipping (35.9Mt CO2, -15%). Regionally, decreases in China were the largest and earliest (234.5 Mt CO2,-6.9%), followed by Europe (EU-27 & UK) (138.3 Mt CO2, -12.0%) and the U.S. (162.4 Mt CO2, -9.5%). The declines of CO2 are consistent with regional nitrogen oxides concentrations observed by satellites and ground-based networks, but the calculated signal of emissions decreases (about 1Gt CO2) will have little impacts (less than 0.13ppm by April 30, 2020) on the overserved global CO2 concertation. However, with observed fast CO2 recovery in China and partial re-opening globally, our findings suggest the longer-term effects on CO2 emissions are unknown and should be carefully monitored using multiple measures.

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