Experts in the UK have said that daily global emissions of CO2 decreased 17% during the peak of the shutdown mostly because of the actions of the governments in response to the coronavirus.
According to the most comprehensive account published yet, half of the fall in emissions was due to lesser car journeys, however, car usage will rise again as people get back on the roads. They warned that the emissions could be bigger than they were before the crisis.
They have called upon policymakers to use this moment and make sustainable development policies on transport and personal mobility. Grant Shapps, the UK Transport Secretary has promised £250 million for the revitalization of cycling and walking infrastructure.
Shapps said, “If you can’t walk or cycle but you do have access to a car, please use it rather than traveling by bus, train or tram,” he said.
In a detailed analysis, experts have found that during the climax of the crisis in April, daily emissions fell by 17% compared to the same period last year, meaning that every day 17 million tonnes less CO2 was emitted daily. The major reason for this was the usage of cars as surface transport emissions decreased by 43%, the same as the fall in emissions from industry and power generation combined.
Aviation accounted for 10% of the decrease. While China saw the biggest decrease followed by the US, Europe, and India.
Global emissions could fall by 7% if some forms of restrictions are still in place until the end of the year. If we see normal activity resume by mid-June, then the annual fall will be around 4%.
One of the researchers said,
A big worry that people will naturally want to go back to their cars to go to work, and that could rebound the emissions to the same level or even higher than before, once everybody goes back.
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