Drop-in global carbon emissions observed because of Covid-19 induced lockdown

A decrease in global carbon emissions was observed compared to the 1979 oil crisis during the Iranian revolution or the worldwide financial crisis of 2008.


Carbon emissions are similar to greenhouse gas emissions. The greenhouse effect leads to the release of gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and these gases trap the sun’s heat-causing the average temperature to rise. This can lead to global warming. Carbon emissions occur when carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere through vehicular emissions, deforestation, burning of fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, or oil. Carbon emissions can contribute to global warming too.

A study conducted this year, published in Nature communications measured carbon emissions. It was seen that during April especially when the corona wave first came into force and a lockdown was imposed, carbon emissions reduced by 16.9%. A 40% decline in emissions was observed worldwide. According to the researchers, this might be due to the fact that lockdown restricted everyone to their homes and there was reduced reduction in traveling, transport for that matter.

For the efficiency of research, the researchers measured hourly data sets of electricity production in 31 countries, including daily traffic in 400 countries as well as passenger flights. Fuel consumption that can cause carbon emissions in more than 200 countries were also looked at.


It was also observed that after the businesses slowly began to open following the easing of lockdown restrictions, emission of carbon dioxide emissions increased in most countries.

Hence it is important to develop a proper strategy in order to reduce carbon emissions for our environment. Co-Author Hans Joachim Schellnhuber eased on the importance of bringing in structural changes in industrial sectors in order to reduce carbon emissions.

Carbon emissions cannot be completely omitted from our environment but can certainly be reduced on an individual as well as societal level.

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