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Temporary reduction in daily global CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement

Corinne Le Quéré, Robert B. Jackson, Matthew W. Jones, Adam J. P. Smith, Sam Abernethy, Robbie M. Andrew, Anthony J. De-Gol, David R. Willis, Yuli Shan, Josep G. Canadell, Pierre Friedlingstein, Felix Creutzig and Glen P. Peters

Nature Climate Change, Published 18 May 2020
DOI:10.1038/s41558-020-0797-x

Paper Abstract

Government policies during the COVID-19 pandemic have drastically altered patterns of energy demand around the world. Many international borders were closed and populations were confined to their homes, which reduced transport and changed consumption patterns. Here we compile government policies and activity data to estimate the decrease in CO2 emissions during forced confinements. Daily global CO2 emissions decreased by –17% (–11 to –25% for ±1σ) by early April 2020 compared with the mean 2019 levels, just under half from changes in surface transport. At their peak, emissions in individual countries decreased by –26% on average. The impact on 2020 annual emissions depends on the duration of the confinement, with a low estimate of –4% (–2 to –7%) if prepandemic conditions return by mid-June, and a high estimate of –7% (–3 to –13%) if some restrictions remain worldwide until the end of 2020. Government actions and economic incentives postcrisis will likely influence the global CO2 emissions path for decades.

Manuscript

Access paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-0797-x

Access Additional Global and National Figures: https://mattwjones.co.uk/covid-19

Data

Access supplementary data: https://www.icos-cp.eu/gcp-covid19

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Images and Multimedia

Global daily fossil CO2 emmissions MtCO2 per day, sectors stacked Global daily fossil CO2 emmissions %, sectors stacked
Global daily fossil CO2 emmissions MtCO2 per day, sectors stacked

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Global daily fossil CO2 emmissions %, sectors stacked

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Fraction of global CO2 emmissions produced in areas subject to confinement Change in activity by sector during confinement level 3
Fraction of global CO2 emmissions produced in areas subject to confinement

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Change in activity by sector during confinement level 3

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Global CO2 emmissions MtCO2 per day to April 2020 Global CO2 emmissions MtCO2 per day to December 2020
Global CO2 emmissions MtCO2 per day to April 2020

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Global CO2 emmissions MtCO2 per day to December 2020

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Change in global daily fossil CO2 emmissions per sector Changes in CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement
Change in global daily fossil CO2 emmissions per sector

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Percent changes in activitys during lockdown

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Changes in CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement
Changes in CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement

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Effects on global emissions from COVID-19 with Glen Peters, Research Director CICERO
Effects on global emissions from COVID-19 with Glen Peters, Research Director CICERO

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Press Releases

  • UEA, UK (pdf, 35kb)
  • CICERO, Norway (pdf, 143kb)
  • CICERO, Norway (in Norwegian, pdf, 142kb)
  • CSIRO, Australia (pdf, 207kb)
  • MCC, Germany (in German, pdf, 271kb)

Blogs

  • The Conversation: Coronavirus is a 'sliding doors' moment for humanity. What we do now could change Earth's trajectory.
  • The Conversation (in Spanish): El coronavirus, un punto de no retorno: lo que hagamos ahora puede cambiar el rumbo del planeta.
  • The Conversation (in French): Covid et baisse des émissions de CO2: une nouvelle étude fait le point secteur par secteur.
  • Scientific American: COVID-19 Could Permanently Transform Transportation.