While the lockdown back in April cleared skies and rivers, the impact of lockdown on climate emissions helped hardly at all.
Carbon emissions are returning back to normal at fast rates, showing that the lockdown in April only had a slight effect on carbon emissions. Human activity was paused during lockdown– factories stopped operating, cars and planes weren’t used, global daily emissions of CO2 fell by 17%. While that all did help the environment back in April, it is not sustainable due to the impact lockdown had on the economy and social impacts.
Climate models have estimated that global temperatures will only decrease around 0.01C by 2030 due to the pandemic. Professor Piers Forster from the University of Leeds stated, “Although temporary changes can help, you need to reduce CO2 permanently to make a dent in global warming. CO2 is long lived in the atmosphere, so you effectively need to reduce emissions to zero for a long-time before you begin to cancel out the effects from decades of past emissions.”
The research team has claimed if the comeback of the pandemic is environmentally friendly– avoiding fossil fuel lock-ins and bail-outs and cutting global emissions to net zero by 2050–the world has around a chance of 55% of staying under 1.5C by 2050.
If the world wants to avoid the severe impacts of climate change, all countries need to do their part and reduce their emissions. Many investments need to be made, which are currently not at the level needed to stop the severe impacts of climate change. Harriet Forster, the daughter of Professor Piers Forster, has said that there is a golden opportunity for governments to take action against climate change. Professor Piers Forster believes the challenges can be met.