Pandemic reduces CO2 but impact on climate ‘negligible’: UN
Nairobi, Dec 9 (efe-epa).- The global impact of the coronavirus pandemic will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions this year but will have a negligible impact on the climate crisis, the United Nations said Wednesday.
A report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) found that the widespread lockdowns that have drastically reduced human activity will contribute to a reduction of CO2 emissions by up to 7 percent by the end of the year.
But the UNEP said that despite the dip in greenhouse gas emissions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – which “translates to just 0.01° Celsius reduction of global warming by 2050” -, “the world is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3° Celsius this century.”
Moreover, it does not prevent “the world from still heading for a temperature increase of more than 3 degrees Celsius this century,” far from the goal of keeping such an increase below 2 degrees from the pre-industrial era.
THE TRUCE OF THE PANDEMIC, A MIRAGE
The objective of keeping temperatures under 2 degrees warmer than the pre-industrial era is the underpinning commitment of the Paris Agreement (2015), which sets measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as to limit the increase in the planet’s temperature to 1.5 degrees.
The UNEP study noted that the “economic disruption” caused by the coronavirus crisis “has briefly slowed – but far from eliminated – the historic and ever-increasing burden of human activity on the Earth’s climate,” which is manifesting itself in the “continuing rise of extreme weather events including wildfires and hurricanes, and in the melting of glaciers and ice at both poles.”
“The year 2020 has set new records – they will not be the last,” UNEP warned.
But the report did have some positive findings, namely that a “green pandemic recovery” could reduce emissions by up to 25 percent.
UN Environment identified several measures that could deliver these emissions cuts, including “direct support for zero-emissions technologies and infrastructure, reducing fossil fuel subsidies, and backing nature-based solutions – including large-scale landscape restoration and reforestation.”