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The Red & Black

Carbon Dioxide Emissions Drop During Pandemic

Italy, which uses mainly natural gas for its electricity, had a similar scenario. Demands for power fell by 27% in March, compared to those in 2019. Furthermore, both France and the UK have seen lowered power demands after their lockdowns in March. Experts predict that EU greenhouse gas emissions may plummet by almost 389 million metric tons at the end of the year, which is more than France's emissions for the whole year.

In the US, transportation has long been the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions, and passenger vehicles account for 60%. But with the falling need of transit, transportation traffic has fallen by 38%, resulting in a proportional reduction of emissions.

However, while these are all great signs, it is still too soon to celebrate. We do not yet know what the global economy’s rebound will look like, and if handled poorly, emissions may shoot back up so high that they completely undermine current drops.

The UN has repeatedly reported that global emissions need to drop by 8% per year through 2030 if global warming were to be kept below 2 degrees Celsius. Although, if countries invest in solar power or electric transportation as part of their economic recoveries, we may very well be on track. However, if countries decide to fall back on the production of filthy energy sources such as oil and coal to aid their plummeting economies, emissions will undoubtedly soar back up. Therefore, when this is all over, the world will face an incredibly difficult choice, and only time will tell which path we choose.