As the coronavirus pandemic interrupts industry and CO2 emissions, an analysis released this week said the world could see its biggest fall in carbon dioxide emissions this year—but it may just be a drop in the bucket in the effort to curb climate change, Forbes.com reports.
A Carbon Brief analysis released Thursday found that CO2 emissions could fall by more than 4% in 2020 compared to 2019 levels, a bigger annual drop than any previous economic crisis or wartime.
An earlier report suggested it would be the biggest drop in carbon emissions since World War II.
However, the analysis states that CO2 emissions would have to decrease by more than 6% each year to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 °C more than pre-industrial levels and meet the most ambitious Paris Agreement targets.
Without structural changes to worldwide industry, this sustained dip in emissions is highly unlikely, experts say. For example, after carbon output dropped in 2008, it soon stalled and reportedly jumped more than 5% during the economy’s recovery.
The pattern can already be seen in China, where emissions are believed to have fallen by as much as 25% when the country enforced strict anti-coronavirus restrictions, but appear to be on their way to returning to a normal range as the country begins to reopen.