CO2 | Emissions | COVID-19

Temporary reduction in daily global CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement

Corinne Le Quéré, Robert B. Jackson, Matthew W. Jones, Adam J. P. Smith, Sam Abernethy, Robbie M. Andrew, Anthony J. De-Gol, David R. Willis, Yuli Shan, Josep G. Canadell, Pierre Friedlingstein, Felix Creutzig and Glen P. Peters

Read our article in Nature Climate Change (2020)

With further discussion of the implications for the future trajectory of CO2 emissions in The Conversation:


Global Impacts of ‘Lockdown’

Global daily emissions fell sharply in the first quarter of 2020 as social confinement measures were introduced to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).


Regional Impacts

Reductions in emissions during January and February were predominantly driven by confinement in China.

International expansion of confinement measures led to deeper reductions in March and April.

“Europe” includes the EU27 plus the UK.


Impacts on Emission Sectors

Reductions in emissions from surface transport, industry and power contributed most to the total reduction in daily emissions at the global scale.

Increases in residential emissions only slightly offset the reductions seen in other sectors.

Confinement had different impacts on total and sector-by-sector emissions reductions in different countries

Variability was also seen across Chinese provinces and US states

See “Impacts by Country”, “Impacts by Chinese Province” and “Impacts by US State”, below.


Global Emissions through 2020

The pathway for emissions in the remainder of 2020 is uncertain. We explore three plausible scenarios.


Impacts on the Top 4 Emission Regions

In the USA and Europe, the reduction in emissions from surface transport was the largest component of the overall drop in emissions.

In China and India, the reductions in emissions from the industry and power sectors outweighed the reduction in emissions from surface transport.

“Europe” includes the EU27 plus the UK.


Impacts by Country (%)

Plots of change (%) in emissions for all countries outside of China, the USA and India, including individual EU27 nations and the UK.


Impacts by Country

Plots of absolute change (Mt CO2 day-1) in emissions for all countries outside of China, the USA and India, including individual EU27 nations and the UK.


Cumulative Impacts by Country

Plots of cumulative change in emissions (Mt CO2) since 1st January 2020 for all countries outside of China, the USA and India, including individual EU27 nations and the UK.


Impacts by Chinese Province

Plots of change (%) in emissions for each province of China.


Impacts by US State

Plots of change (%) in emissions for each State of the US.

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