The Global Carbon Budget report for 2020 is out.

Due to the pandemic, they estimate that carbon dioxide emissions will have fallen 6.7% globally in 2020.

That's the largest absolute decline ever, and the largest percentage drop since World War II.
In an ordinary year, a 7% decline in carbon dioxide emissions would have been amazing.

However, no one wants to do it like this. The economic and human cost has been much too high, and is certainly not sustainable.

Carbon emissions are likely to rebound sharply in 2021.
The pandemic has also taught us about the limits of individual action. All those lockdowns, all of that economic harm, and carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 only fell by 6.7%.

We need systemic change, not personal sacrifices.

We need to replace fossil fuels with clean energy.
The challenge ahead of us is enormous.

As @hausfath's very simplified emissions pathways graphic shows us, for the aspirational goal of limiting climate change to 1.5 °C, we would need to keep cutting carbon emissions every year by nearly the same amount as they fell this year.
Unfortunately, carbon dioxide will keep accumulating in the atmosphere until emissions fall near zero.

The pandemic slashed global emissions this year by nearly 7%, so CO₂ only rose by ~2.5 ppm... instead of ~2.7 ppm.

But climate change will continue as long as CO₂ is rising.
Updated comparison of historical carbon dioxide emissions with future 1.5 °C scenarios.

The estimated 6.7% cut in 2020, due to the pandemic, is close to what would be needed every year to limit warming to 1.5 °C.

To say the least, this would be enormously challenging.
You can follow @RARohde.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled:

By continuing to use the site, you are consenting to the use of cookies as explained in our Cookie Policy to improve your experience.