COVID-19-related restrictions in 2020 caused the largest drop in carbon -dioxide emissions from energy use since World War II. As lockdowns ended and economic activity started again, by December, worldwide emissions were 2%, or 60 million tonnes, higher than the same month in 2019, according to new data from the International Energy Agency.

What is Happening?

The authors write, “In March 2020, the IEA urged governments to put clean energy at the heart of their economic stimulus plans to ensure a sustainable recovery. But our numbers show we are returning to carbon-intensive business-as-usual. This year is pivotal for international climate action – and it began with high hopes – but these latest numbers are a sharp reminder of the immense challenge we face in rapidly transforming the global energy system.”

You might also like: China Looks To Start Online Carbon Trading by June

Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director, says, “If current expectations for a global economic rebound this year are confirmed-  and in the absence of major policy changes in the world’s largest economies- global emissions are likely to increase in 2021. Nonetheless, there are still reasons for optimism. China has set an ambitious carbon-neutrality target; the new US administration has rejoined the Paris Agreement and is putting climate at the heart of its policy-making; the European Union is pushing ahead with its Green Deal and sustainable recovery plans; India’s stunning success with renewables could transform its energy future; and the United Kingdom is building global momentum toward stronger climate action at COP26 in November.”

Featured image by: Flickr