As businesses remain closed and people across the world continue to socially distance, a new projection shows the Earth could see its highest-ever drop in carbon emissions from fossil fuels in recorded history.
The projection, conducted by the Global Carbon Project and commissioned by The Guardian, shows carbon emissions could fall by as much as 2.5 billion tons over the course of 2020. That would be an unprecedented reduction of 5 percent of the total CO2 gas in the atmosphere. Many climate experts expected carbon emissions to continue to rise to record highs this year. However, with stay-at-home orders for hundreds of millions of people across the planet due to COVID-19, the use of fossil fuels is also seemingly put on pause.
There have been other significant drops in carbon emissions in the last century. Many have to do with various global recessions, with the second-largest drop of one billion tons occurring in conjunction with the early-1980s recession. Another substantial drop in emissions occurred after the end of World War 2, most likely due to a sudden end to the boom in factory military production.
Oil prices have plummeted in response to both COVID-19 restrictions and a coincidental price war between the world’s top producers. Despite a rapid decline in demand, many producers have continued to pump oil – driving the price down further and having an increasingly difficult time finding buyers.