Grow up in gases: the effect of lockdowns on the climate may end by the end of the year |  Articles

In 2020, global carbon dioxide emissions fell 5.4%. But in 2021 CO emissions2 in the world will grow again by 4.9%, follows from the report of the international project Global Carbon Project. This means that the climate benefits from widespread coronavirus lockdowns have exhausted themselves and the amount of greenhouse gases is returning to pre-pandemic levels. There are no official statistics on the dynamics of pollution in Russia yet, but, according to independent experts, it should coincide with the global one.

Global trend

According to the Global Carbon Project, an international project for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, which brings together scientists from different countries, in 2021 the volume of carbon dioxide emissions on a global scale will increase by 4.9% compared to the previous year and will reach 36.4 billion tons.… This growth is practically negates the positive effect on nature from lockdownscaused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which in 2020 led to a decrease in CO emissions2 at 5.4%.

Before the industrial era, the atmosphere had only 0.02% carbon dioxide, said Igor Shkradyuk, expert of the public council under the Ministry of Natural Resources, coordinator of the program for greening the industry at the Wildlife Conservation Center. According to him, when humanity began to burn not only firewood, but also coal, oil and gas, the concentration of CO2 began to grow. Our planet is heated by the energy of the sun and gives off heat to space. The molecules of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere absorb the heat generated by the Earth and return about half of it to the planet’s surface, which causes global warming.

Photo: TASS / Zuma

«The main source of anthropogenic carbon dioxide is the combustion of fossil fuels for the needs of energy, utilities and industry “, – Igor Shkradyuk explained.

In 2020, numerous lockdowns caused by the pandemic led to a decrease in industrial production, energy and fuel consumption, which affected emissions.… However, already this year the world economy began to recover, and with it the volumes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere returned to their previous indicators… According to experts of the Global Carbon Project, with the further restoration of the economy, the growth of pollution will continue.

“Data on greenhouse gas emissions from the Global Carbon Project show that, despite a temporary decline during the COVID-19 pandemic, from January to May 2021, global emissions from the energy, industry and residential sectors were already at or higher than the same period in 2019. “, – said Elena Savenkova, director of the RUDN Institute of Ecology.

The expert added that these figures clearly show that the reduction of CO emissions2 is temporary. The short-term coronavirus effect does not make a significant contribution to minimizing emissions, and therefore does not affect the climatic parameters of the atmosphere.

Most countries in the world are aware of the danger of even a slight increase in temperature on the planet, which can lead to irreversible changes in natural conditions. In 2015, in Paris, 196 states, including Russia, signed a climate agreement and pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to stop global warming at 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era.


Фото: Global Look Press/Razer

China, the United States, the European Union and India remain the world’s leading producers of carbon dioxide. According to scientists from the Global Carbon Project, increase in CO emissions2 in 2021 is driven mainly by higher coal consumption in India and China.

How warm is it in Russia

Official statistics on greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2, in 2020-2021 in Russia yet. However, calculations by another international research project, Carbon Monitor, suggest that in the first nine months of 2021, carbon dioxide emissions in our country increased by 6.7% compared to the same period in 2020… Wherein the most significant contribution to this growth was made by the energy sector (3.1%), industry (2%) and housing and communal services (1.4%).

According to Russian experts, the dynamics of emissions in our country in 2020–2021 roughly coincided with the global trend.

“According to various sources, the reduction of CO emissions2 globally in 2020 was 5-7%. In Russia, as can be judged by indirect indications, this decrease could have been even greater, since a high share (over 20%) of hydroelectric power plants that do not emit CO was recorded in the field of electricity production.2and the consumption of coal and gas has decreased, “said Mikhail Yulkin, General Director of CarbonLab.

The expert added: less road transport was used during the pandemic… Also except for lockdowns the decrease in emissions can be attributed to the fact that the past year was very warm.


Photo: TASS / Lev Fedoseev

According to Mikhail Yulkin, post-pandemic recovery is not just bringing fossil fuel consumption back to its previous level, but is overwhelming as the economy catches up.

Understand how CO emissions have changed2 in our country, it is possible, by comparing the fall in GDP and its recovery, explained Alexei Kokorin, head of the Climate and Energy Program of the World Wildlife Fund. If this year Russia’s indicator has already reached the level of 2019, then emissions have returned to the same trajectory, he said.

“Usually, when the economy returns to normal, the reduction in emissions is 1% compared to pre-crisis indicators.”– said Alexey Kokorin.

According to Rosstat, the decline in Russia’s GDP, mainly due to the pandemic, in 2020 amounted to 3.1%, and the forecast for this year is an increase of about 4%… Thus, if you follow the logic suggested by the specialist, greenhouse gas emissions in Russia this year may return to pre-pandemic levels.

Speaking about the situation in the world, the expert recalled that 40% of all CO emissions2 on the planet are produced by China and the USA. In 2020, these countries had long-term lockdowns, and in 2021 there are no longer, so the calculations of the Global Carbon Project look quite logical.

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