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Carbon emissions down nearly 20% since lockdowns began

Possibly the largest drop in human history

Published: May 19, 2020 1:50pm

Updated: May 19, 2020 2:47pm

Carbon emissions worldwide are reportedly down by nearly 20% since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdowns, another highlighting the impact of ongoing shutdowns on human activity and the worldwide economy. 

A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, titled "Temporary reduction in daily global COemissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement," states that the reduction in average global emissions peaked at 26% before settling at 17%, compared mean emission levels in 2019. 

The authors, who hail from the U.K., the U.S., Norway and other countries, say that the total level of emission reductions for the whole year could range anywhere from 4% to 7%, depending on the disease mitigation procedures that remain in place, and for how long. 

"Government actions and economic incentives post-crisis will likely influence the global CO2emissions path for decades," they write. "At present it is unclear how long and deep the [economic] crisis will be, and how the recovery path will look, and therefore how CO2 emissions will be affected."

Governments worldwide have enacted severe and open-ended lockdowns and shutdowns since the disease began spreading late last year, with presidents, governors and other executives around the world unilaterally closing down huge swaths of their economies in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. 

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