The ‘good’ news: Global emissions are projected to fall by a record-breaking 5.5% this year. Our environment is having a rare moment of pause from the continued growing impact of humanity.
The bad news: Despite the historic fall, we still lag behind the rate of change required to keep global warming to within 1.5°C. And that’s just 2020. If the economists are right and we can expect an economic rebound once lockdown procedures are lifted, then the trend on emissions very likely returns to growth.
So what do we think about this?
It’s easy to be pessimistic – a view typified by Columbia University Professor Jason Bordoff: “the fact that it takes severe economic
slowdowns like the Great Recession or COVID-19 to bring emissions down serves as a reminder of just how strongly tied emissions remain to economic growth—and thus how hard it is to lower them … the pandemic is a reminder of just how wicked a problem climate change is” For those of us with long memories of global climate conferences, the auspices for the nowdelayed COP 26 in Glasgow potentially look bleak.