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Drop in global CO2 emissions by 17% during Coronavirus lockdown

The journal Nature Climate Change published new research that showed daily global carbon emissions had fallen by 17% at the start of April 2020 compared to 2019.


A further decrease of up to 7% is expected for full-year 2020 emissions but this is dependent on further social distancing.


Friends of the Earth campaigner, Jenny Bates, said: “This huge drop in carbon emissions is due to the global lockdown.


“But as the world emerges from this terrible pandemic avoiding catastrophic climate change must be at the top of the agenda.

“We must make sure that our recent experience of better air quality, lower carbon emissions are prioritised post-lockdown by building the next normal around active travel, access to nature, and ending our reliance on fossil fuels.”


At midnight on 10th June, an important landmark was passed as Britain went two full months without burning coal to generate power.


Ms Bates highlighted several key policy areas where lockdown-related emission drops could be furthered as the restrictions begin to ease.


“Government and councils must permanently change how road space is used, allocating far more to walking and cycling, and making public transport work for everyone.


“Now is the time to scrap plans to expand airports, and introduce a levy on the most frequent fliers.


“Eradicating fuel poverty by investing in better home insulation will save lives and increase resilience to any winter lock-down, while at the same time cutting carbon emissions and creating jobs.”


Tim Pratt, coordinator for Gosport and Fareham Friends of the Earth, spoke before the lockdown about the actions individuals can take to reduce their own carbon footprint.


Yet, much of this remains applicable today despite the progress that has been made so far.


Mr Pratt said: “I think everyone needs to be playing their part in the sustainability crisis we’ve got at the moment.


“The IPCC when they brought out the last major report were highlighting the fact that every action matters.


“We are in a climate crisis but every action that people take to try and reduce the extent of that is gonna make a real difference to people’s lives and the extent of climate disasters that we see.


“It’s really just a case of thinking about little things like that that would actually make a big difference.


“First of all I would encourage people to take a look at resources online that have lots and lots of information about ways to live more sustainably.


“Just a couple of quick examples of specific things, thinking about houses, there’s big things that you can be doing like insulation and installing solar panels.


“But there’s also some pretty simple smaller things, just looking again at things like the temperature that you’re having your house at, looking at the temperature you’re doing your washing at, just little things like that.”


“Going back again to what the IPCC said, yes individual choices individual actions but also they were saying that changes need to happen at every level so individuals, councils, national governments and internationally.”


“One of the most important things that individuals can actually do is to lobby their representatives, lobby their councillors, lobby their MPs and try to get changes through that way. That will make a big difference.”


Continued working from home, increasing energy from renewable sources and electric cars have all been part of many governments’ suggestions of how to continue reducing global emissions after the lockdown.

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