A report published in Nature Climate Change claims carbon emissions fell drastically during COVID-19 related lockdowns. In order to meet goals in The Paris Agreement, they say, a pandemic scaled lockdown would be needed once every two years in order to maintain “safe” temperature levels. The lead author of the report Corinne Le Quere, argues that “we have failed to understand in the past that we can’t have tackling climate change as a side issue. It can’t be about one law or policy, it has to be put at the heart of all policy. The world stood at a crucial point as governments poured money into the global economy to cope with the impacts of the pandemic. We need a cut in emissions of about the size of the fall from the lockdowns every two years, but by completely different methods,” she said.
The report found that “carbon emissions fell by about 2.6 billion metric tons in 2020 or roughly a 7% drop from the previous year, a historic decrease.” In addition, however, “further drops in carbon output, 1 to 2 billion metric tons per year, are needed for global emissions to meet the safe worldwide temperature range defined by the Paris Agreement to dodge the effects of climate change.” The Paris Agreement concluded that earth’s temperatures must remain within 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius of “pre-industrial levels” in order to avoid “climate catastrophes” in the future. The report goes on to explain that more than just lockdowns are needed to meet Paris Agreement goals. A co-author of the study argued that “structural changes” are necessary in order to help industrialized nations “move away from fossil fuels” and towards green energy.