Global CO2 emissions dropped by 17% amid coronavirus lockdowns

Friends of the Earth reaction to new research showing a global drop of carbon emissions by 17% in April 2020 due to the coronavirus lockdown.

New research published today in the journal Nature Climate Change has shown that daily global carbon emissions fell by 17% in early April 2020 compared to 2019, with full-year 2020 emissions set to decrease by up to 7%, depending on further social distancing.

Reacting to the news, Friends of the Earth campaigner Jenny Bates said:

“This huge drop in carbon emissions is due to the global lockdown, but as the world emerges from this terrible pandemic avoiding catastrophic climate change must be at the top of the agenda. We must make sure that our recent experience of better air quality, lower carbon emissions and simple things like hearing birdsong are prioritised post-lockdown by building the next normal around active travel, access to nature, and ending our reliance on fossil fuels.”

She added that there are several key policy areas where lockdown-related emissions reductions can be entrenched:

“With road transport such a key contributor to both UK air pollution and climate emissions, government and councils must permanently change how road space is used, allocating far more to walking and cycling, and making public transport work for everyone. The £27bn planned for a massive roads programme, which would create more traffic and emissions, should be spent on creating the sustainable and modern transport system we urgently need.

“Aviation emissions have dropped dramatically, so now is the time to scrap plans to expand airports, and introduce a levy on the most frequent fliers.

“Eradicating fuel poverty by investing in better home insulation will save lives and increase resilience to any winter lock-down, while at the same time cutting carbon emissions and creating jobs. All of this will help us build back better into a cleaner, healthier and fairer world.”

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