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26% Decline In India's Carbon Emissions Due To COVID-19 Lockdown

A map of U.S. states illustrating the maximum percent decrease in carbon dioxide emissions between January and April 2020. The decreases range from 10% to 40

The researchers have found the impacts on global emissions have varied as Covid-19 has spread across different countries. About 23 percent of that drop came from China, 20 percent from the USA, and 9 percent from India.

Data from 69 countries were analyzed, which together represent 85% of the world population and 97% of global emissions.

Emissions from surface transport such as vehicle journeys account for nearly half (43%) of the decrease in global emissions during peak confinement on 7 April, according to the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Lockdown measures implemented around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in an unprecedented drop of 17 percent in global carbon dioxide emissions globally from the beginning of the year to early April as compared to the same period last year, a new study has shown.

"Population confinement has led to drastic changes in energy use and Carbon dioxide emissions", says Professor Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia, who led the analysis.

A second, larger, fall in emissions was observed throughout April, followed the wider outbreak of Covid-19, which shut down economic activity across a much wider range of countries.

If the world could keep up annual emission cuts like this without a pandemic for a couple of decades, there was a decent chance Earth could avoid warming another 1C (1.8F) of warming from now, authors of the study said.

Decreases were the greatest in the surface transport sector, which includes cars and shipping.

They found a global 17 percent decrease in emissions in April compared to past year, most likely due to the US, India, and China all being under lockdown at the same time.

As an indication of how insignificant these short-term dips in carbon emissions may be when considering the larger picture of climate change, scientists last week detected a record concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Despite everybody being confined to their homes, the increase of energy use from households has been modest and easily off-set by the gains from the other sectors.

The analysis was carried out by an worldwide team of researchers working on Future Earth's Global Carbon Project, an initiative to trace the impacts of human-generated greenhouse gases on the planet. The reduction equals a drop of around 18.7 million tons of carbon dioxide.

The changes in activity were also outlined in a report published by the International Energy Agency on Wednesday, which found road transport activity and aviation transport halved throughout most international markets in April. But scientists are warning that the cuts in greenhouse gases are likely to be temporary.

By the end of 2020, the study predicts total emissions could drop between 4% and 7%, depending on the path of recovery.

With almost five million confirmed infections and 320,000 deaths, the Covid-19 pandemic has deflected attention from the climate crisis that dominated global concerns in 2019.