Historical decrease of the GHG emissions towards 2020

Baisse historique des émissions de GES en vue pour 2020

Photo: Jason Franson, The canadian Press
After the fall of this year, the greenhouse gas emissions are expected to increase, especially due to the recovery in the oil sector.

The year 2020 should be marked by a historical decline in global emissions of greenhouse gases, concludes a scientific analysis published Tuesday. But it may have little impact on the climate crisis. Rather, the recovery plans of governments that will give the measure of what we can expect for the next few decades, insist the researchers.

According to preliminary data compiled in the framework of a study published in Nature Climate Change, containment measures, border closures and the shutdown of a number of economic activities have led to a decline of 17 per cent of global emissions daily CO2 at the beginning of the month of April, relative to their level of 2019.

Without being as pronounced, the trend for the year 2020 leads to a decrease of at least 4 % of the emissions of CO2, assuming that economic activity leaves normally in June. But in the more likely case that the restrictions are maintained for the remainder of the year, the overall drop expected is 7 %.

This decline, caused by a sudden brake steep global economic activity that will lead to a major crisis, in contrast with the previous years. According to what we read in this international study, global emissions have increased each year to 1 % during the last decade.

However, in order to meet the commitments of the most ambitious undertaken in the framework of the Paris Agreement on the climate, global emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are expected to decrease rather than increase each year of 7.6% between 2020 and 2030. To be clear, the emissions are projected to decline each year by at least the same rate as that anticipated in 2020.

Rebound of GHG ?

The researchers, however, recalled that during the crisis of 2008-2009, the “decline” of 1.4 % of the emissions recorded in 2009, was “immediately followed” by a bounce, and therefore a rise in emissions of 5.1 % in 2010, above the average of the years that preceded the crisis. “The emissions are quickly returned to their previous path, almost as if the crisis had never existed “, they write.

The reduction of the energy consumption — 80 % of the world demand is met by fossil fuels — and the GHG emissions reduction that results may be short-term, stress in the past couple of weeks the scientists who study the climate crisis. “These falls are likely to be temporary, because they do not reflect structural changes in the economic systems, of transport or of energy “, a summary Tuesday, Corinne Le Quéré, lead author of the study and a professor at the british university of East Anglia, as cited by Agence France-Presse.

The decline in global emissions expected in 2020, therefore, should not influence sustainably the magnitude of the climate crisis that is threatening humanity, as this does nothing to change the continued accumulation of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. For the moment, we are heading towards years of heat records for the next decade, warned in April the u.s. Agency for ocean observation, and atmospheric.

What is the stimulus ?

Thus, the recovery plans that will be the key to future things. “The actions of governments and the economic incentives post-crisis will influence the global trend of CO2 emissions for decades,” insist the authors of the study published in Nature Climate Change.

Scientists and environmental groups claim, moreover, an acceleration of the energy transition, in the context of the global economic recovery. But the costly stimulus plans around the world do not send that positive signals on the construction of the “green” economy claimed by some.

“There is a strong risk that a short-term vision will lead governments to lose sight of a broader perspective and put money in highly polluting industries, which do not have their place in a society that is” zero carbon “, insisted Tuesday Joeri Rogelj, of the Imperial College of London, quoted by Agence France-Presse.

Last month, the united Nations secretary-general, António Guterres, plead, therefore, for a reconstruction ” more sustainable “. As he argues, this “green stimulus” would also be beneficial for the global economy.

Mr. Guterres has proposed six “actions” to governments, including public investment accelerated in the “decarbonisation” of the economy, the end of subsidies to fossil fuels, the imposition of a price on emissions of greenhouse gases, the rejection of bailouts for polluting industries, and the consideration of “climate risk” in investment, including for infrastructure.

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