Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Coronavirus is a ‘sliding doors’ moment. What we do now could change Earth’s trajectory

Coronavirus is a ‘sliding doors’ moment. What we do now could change Earth’s trajectory  The Conversation, 20 May, 20 
  1. Pep Canadell Chief research scientist, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere; and Executive Director, Global Carbon Project, CSIRO
  2. Corinne Le Quéré Royal Society Research Professor, University of East Anglia
  3. Felix Creutzig Chair Sustainability Economics of Human Settlements, Mercator Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change
  4. Glen Peters Research Director, Center for International Climate and Environment Research – Oslo
  5. Matthew William Jones Senior Research Associate, University of East Anglia
  6. Pierre Friedlingstein Chair, Mathematical Modelling of Climate, University of Exeter
  7. Rob Jackson Chair, Department of Earth System Science, and Chair of the Global Carbon Project, globalcarbonproject.org, Stanford University
  8. Yuli Shan Research Fellow, University of Groningen

“………. Mandatory social distancing under COVID-19 is disrupting the way we live and work, creating new lifestyle patterns. But once the crisis is over, will – and should – the picture return to normal?

That’s one of many key questions emerging as the precise effect of the pandemic on carbon emissions becomes clear.

Our research published today in Nature Climate Change shows how COVID-19 has affected global emissions in six economic sectors. We discovered a significant decline in daily global emissions – most markedly, on April 7.

The analysis is useful as we consider the deep structural change needed to shift the global economy to zero emissions.

Crunching the numbers

At the end of each year we publish the Global Carbon Budget – a report card on global and regional carbon trends. But the unusual circumstances this year prompted us to run a preliminary analysis.

We calculated how the pandemic influenced daily carbon dioxide emissions in 69 countries covering 97% of global emissions and six economic sectors.

It required collecting new, highly detailed data in different ways, and from diverse sources…….

The pandemic’s peak

In early April, the reduction in global activity peaked. On April 7, global emissions were 17% lower than an equivalent day in 2019……..

In Australia, our widespread, high-level confinement triggered an estimated fall in peak daily emissions of 28% – two-thirds larger than the global estimate of 17%…..

The 2020 outlook

We assessed how the pandemic will affect carbon dioxide emissions over the rest of 2020. Obviously, this will depend on how strong the restrictions are in coming months, and how long they last.

If widespread global confinement ends in mid June, we estimate overall carbon emissions in 2020 will fall about 4% compared to 2019. If less severe restrictions remain in place for the rest of the year, the reduction would be about 7%.

If we consider the various pandemic scenarios and uncertainties in the data, the full range of emissions decline is 2% to 13%.

Now for the important context. Under the Paris climate agreement and according to the United Nations Gap report, global emissions must fall by between 3% and 7% each year between now and 2030 to limit climate change well below 2℃ and 1.5℃, respectively.

Under our projected emissions drop, the world could meet this target in 2020 – albeit for the wrong reasons.

Stabilising the global climate system will require extraordinary changes to our energy and economic systems, comparable to the disruption brought by COVID-19.

A fork in the road

So how could we make this byproduct of the crisis – the emissions decline in 2020 – a turning point?

A slow economic recovery might lower emissions for a few years. But if previous global economic crises are any indication, emissions will bounce back from previous lows.

But it need not be this way. The recent forced disruption offers an opportunity to change the structures underpinning our energy and economic systems. This could set us on the path to decarbonising the global economy………

We can rapidly return to the old “normal”, and the emissions pathway will follow suit. But if we choose otherwise, 2020 could be the unsolicited jolt that turns the global emissions trend around.  https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-is-a-sliding-doors-moment-what-we-do-now-could-change-earths-trajectory-137838

May 21, 2020 - Posted by | General News

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