Critically examine the impact of COVID-19 towards the decline in global carbon dioxide emissions. Does it offer any strategies to control emissions in post COVID-19 era? Opine.

According to a new study by an international team of researchers, the lockdown imposed in most of the countries of the world to control the spread of COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented decline in global carbon dioxide emissions. The study has found that in the first six months of this year, 8.8 percent less carbon dioxide was emitted than in the same period in 2019, a total decrease of 1551 million tonnes.

The greatest reduction of emissions was observed in the ground transportation sector, largely because of working from home restrictions, transport CO2 emissions decreased by 40 % worldwide. The power and industry sectors contributed less to the decline, with -22 % and -17 %, respectively.

The residential sector saw a small emissions drop of 3 %, largely because of an abnormal warm winter in the northern hemisphere, heating energy consumption decreased with most people staying at home all day during lockdown periods.

The only valid strategy to stabilize the climate is a complete overhaul of the industry and commerce sector. While the CO2 drop is unprecedented, decreases of human activities cannot be the answer. Instead we need structural and transformational changes in our energy production and consumption systems.

Individual behaviour is certainly important, but what we really need to focus on is reducing the carbon intensity of our global economy.

Shifting towards clean technologies with fewer emissions combined with investment in strategies to reduce the existing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could have a more lasting impact on mitigating climate change. The reduction in emission due to lockdown is temporary and at the same time, restraint over economic activities can never be an answer to mitigate the menace of Climate Change and ever increasing carbon dioxide emissions.


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