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Infographic – Covid-19 Brings Down Carbon Emissions

Global carbon emissions chart

Click on image for full-size view (Statista)

17 Oct. 2020. Earlier this year as Covid-19 lock-downs went into effect, some observers noted less smog and cleaner skies. As the year went on, however, and restrictions eased, pollution and haze returned to many cities that earlier enjoyed cleaner skies. To provide a more systematic process, an organization called Carbon Monitor devised techniques for estimating carbon dioxide emissions from publicly-available data. These calculations provide a near real-time index of CO2 emissions during the pandemic, with some of those findings displayed yesterday by the business research company Statista.

The chart shows double-digit percentage reductions in carbon dioxide emissions through 31 August for many countries experiencing high Covid-19 infection rates, compared to 2019. Spain recorded a 17 percent drop, while India, the U.S., Germany, U.K., Italy, and France show carbon dioxide declines of 11 to 13 percent. Japan recorded a 7 percent CO2 reduction, about the same as the worldwide decline of 6.5 percent. China, which experienced high rates of Covid-19 infections earlier than most other countries shows only a 2 percent decline in carbon dioxide.

Carbon Monitor constructs its carbon dioxide emissions index from a host of energy, industry, and economic data from up to 206 countries. These data include electricity power production captured hourly, daily vehicle traffic, daily global passenger aircraft flights and distance flown, monthly industrial output, fuel consumption, and weather information. The group then publishes its index daily for most larger countries. Carbon Monitor — a consortium of academic labs and research institutes in the U.S., China, and Europe — describes its methods in detail in the 14 October issue of the journal Nature Communications.

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