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• Here is an analysis regarding the drop in carbon emissions in each U.S. state during the coronavirus lockdown.
• When the lockdown is over, carbon emissions will probably increase. How can we maintain similar goals and behavior to decrease carbon emissions?
• Learn more about how COVID-19 is helping climate efforts.
The pandemic is far from over, but some states are opening back up again, creating a situation where life is going back to some semblance of normal in some areas of the United States and staying eerily quiet in other places. A new analysis in the science journal Nature Climate Change sheds light on what happened to emissions during the months when the U.S. was maximally locked down.
Previous estimates of emissions reductions due to COVID-19 said the pandemic would take an 8 percent bite out of global emissions this year. This study, published Tuesday, is the first to analyze and quantify emissions drops on a day-to-day basis across 69 countries and state by state in the United States.
In the U.S., emissions dropped by about a third for a couple of weeks in April, a development that Robert Jackson, a co-author of the study and a Guggenheim fellow at Stanford University, told Grist was “absolutely unprecedented.” On a national level, emissions decreased by about a quarter on average during each country’s peak of confinement.
Jackson and his fellow researchers created a “confinement index” to describe how locked down 69 countries were between the months of January and April according to three levels of confinement ranging from broad travel restrictions to “policies that substantially restrict the daily routine of all but key workers.” By examining six economic sectors — aviation, electricity, transportation, public buildings and commerce, residential, and industry — the study’s authors were able to determine to what extent economic activity, and the carbon dioxide emissions that accompany it, slowed as a result of which lockdown measures. The 69 countries they analyzed represent 97 percent of global CO2 emissions.
In the U.S., the study showed some major differences between states’ daily maximum emissions reductions. Washington state, for example, saw a more than 40 percent drop in emissions during its peak confinement, whereas the pandemic swallowed up just under 18 percent of Iowa’s emissions during its peak.
Read the full article about carbon emissions by Zoya Teirstein at Grist.