Global Carbon Emissions to Drop by 8% in 2020 Due to COVID-19

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global carbon energy emissions will decline a record 8% in 2020 due to an unprecedented decrease in demand for gas, oil, and coal during the coronavirus pandemic.

IEA’s assertion is based on an analysis of the demand for electricity over the last 100 days in which the world has observed a complete lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.

IEA estimates that global energy demand will reduce by 6% this year, 7 times more than the 2008 global financial crisis, and the biggest year-on-year fall since World War II. This would be tantamount to losing the entire energy demand of the world’s 3rd biggest power consumer, India.

Advanced economies will witness the biggest drop in energy demand this year. The US’s demand for energy will reduce by 9% while the European Union’s demand will fall by 11% in 2020.

Moreover, IEA has observed a significant shift towards more sustainable energy sources. Coal and gas find themselves between low demand and surging output from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar which are set to make 40% of the global electricity generation, 6% more than coal.

After a decade of continuous growth, demand for natural gas is set to drop by 5% this year. Oil demand will drop by 9% after recording eight years of growth. Whereas, the power generated by coal will reduce by 10% after peaking in 2018.

Executive Director IEA, Fatih Birol has termed the projections as a historic shock for the entire energy world. The drop in demand for nearly all major fuels is staggering, especially for gas, oil, and coal, stated Fatih Birol.

Altogether, global carbon energy emissions will drop by 8%, hitting their lowest since 2010. However, according to the United Nations Environment Program Emissions Gap Report 2019, global carbon emissions must decrease by 7.6% each year until 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Director of the Britain-based Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, Richard Black said how the world economy recovers from the Coronavirus pandemic will be key for the climate in the long run.

In recent weeks there have been robust promises from national leaders and calls from businesses for post-coronavirus stimulus packages to accelerate the clean energy transition. If these pledges come good, then the crisis could come to be seen as a genuine turning point for world energy markets.



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