IThere was already a study Posted in Nature – climate change In May 2020 Who quantified global carbon dioxide emissions2 From January to April. Its authors have not taken direct measurements of the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, rather they have estimated them from activity data (industrial production, transportation, etc.) and health policies. They concluded that containing the first wave had reduced carbon dioxide emissions from the planet.2 By about 17% in the first few months of 2020, and they expected the year-round decline to be around 7%.
It was huge: by comparison, the recession that followed the severe financial crisis of 2008 reduced carbon dioxide emissions by only 1.4%.2. But at the same time it was very little, and above all, very accurate, the study warned, which determined that “the social response alone (…) cannot be the driver of the deep and sustained reductions necessary” to achieve carbon neutrality – political gestures are still needed. Like the Green New Deal.
A few months later, another study ran with data during July (published at Nature – Communication, ThatIt showed that last summer’s decline canceled a significant portion of the “gains” made in the spring.
And another article, Published last October, Try to estimate what kind of impact the ‘COVID stop’ would have had in terms of warming. Nor can we say there is a “cause to celebrate,” as Mr. Paradis puts it: by 2030, greenhouse gases “avoided” due to the pandemic will have a cooling effect of … 0.01 ° C. It is not enough to write to his mother.
Moreover, when we measure greenhouse gases in the air directly instead of indirectly measuring emissions, we get essentially the same picture. at United States Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration remote weather stations (NOAA), carbon dioxide concentrations measured in 2020 were 412.5 parts per million, up 2.6 parts per million from 2019. (By comparison, there were about 280 parts per million of carbon dioxide.2 In the atmosphere in the pre-industrial era.) This is the fifth fastest growth so far recorded.
With respect to methane (CH4), Another important greenhouse gas, the increase was even bigger in 2020: 6% more than the previous year, a record high.
So where do these greenhouse gases come from? NOAA has not specified a specific source, but let’s say it relates to carbon monoxide2 Some countries – Especially China, the main emitter in the world – They have resumed or exceeded emission levels for 2019. On the methane side, chemical analyzes indicate that the sources are biological: cattle, swamps and other similar sources did not stop living because everyone was lonely. Additionally, the melting of permafrost in the Arctic continued in 2020, adding another source of methane regardless of containment processes.
None of this, if necessary, means that the epidemic has had no effect on greenhouse gas emissions and concentration in the atmosphere. All it is is that the growth would have been stronger without them.
So at the end of the day, we can say yes, of course, our lifestyles make a difference. The fact of daily car travel to go to work, international travel, our level of consumption, etc., all of this has a “carbon footprint,” say climate scientists. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions observed in 2020 proves this well. And maybe some of the new habits adopted over the past year, especially remote working, will last in the long term and help us (a little) reduce our CO2 emissions.2. we will see.
But what all this shows above all, as many have noted Feedback on the business I am quoting hereIt is not going to work a miracle. The crux of the matter lies elsewhere, in our energy sources. As long as we depend as heavily as we are now on fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and coal), the progress cannot be great. The main thing is to switch to green energy as quickly as possible – but this has little to do with the habits of the master and the lady everyone.