STANFORD, Calif. (KRON) — While people shelter in place and work from home, daily carbon dioxide emissions have dropped as much as 17% globally.
That’s according to the latest study published by a research group called Global Carbon Project, which is an initiative led by a Stanford University professor.
Stanford’s Rob Jackson says we haven’t seen a decrease in emissions this low in decades, since World War II.
While the coronavirus has led to the significant drops in greenhouse gases, Jackson says it’s likely to be short-lived as we continue to loosen restrictions.
Lately you’ve probably noticed the bluer skies, the clearer water and the fresh air.
With less people on the road and in the sky because of shelter in place orders, harmful pollution to our planet is dropping significantly — highlighted by a time lapse.
“In April for instance, we estimated that around the world combined, we estimated that greenhouse gases were down 1/6th which is a lot and here in the United States, there were a couple weeks where our emissions were down by 1/3rd,” Rob Jackson said. “I mean that’s an enormous amount and that reflects primarily from driving and airline travel but it’s more than that. decreased manufacturing, decrease in electricity.”
Jackson is a Stanford University professor and one of the authors of the latest study tracking the coronavirus impact on global carbon dioxide emissions. He’s also chair of Global Carbon Project, which is the research group that published the study this week.
“I’ve never seen a drop like this,” he said. “It’s a drop for the wrong reasons but still we can learn something from this event.”
Jackson says daily carbon dioxide emissions fell as much as 17% globally, but we will likely see only a 7% decrease in emissions in 2020 as the lockdown loosens and people get back to work.
“When we look at previous economic crisis, what typically happens is pollution goes down for a year or so and it goes back when the economy recovers and that could be what happens here,” Jackson said. “We’re already seeing the economy open back up in different states and countries around the world.”
Jackson hopes this event is different. he says now is the time to rethink transportation, how we commute and how we live.
“The only thing that makes a profound difference is if we can take what we’ve seen here and make it permanent to make systemic changes to our infrastructure, to our vehicles, to walking, biking, everything from scooters,” he said.
We’ve already seen some companies make changes that will reduce the number of cars on the road.
For instance, Twitter will now let some employees work from home, permanently even after this is all over.
If you’d like to see more information on this study or a breakdown of emissions, country by country, click here.
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