Reduced Carbon Dioxide Emission Due to Coronavirus Are Not Yet Detected in The Atmosphere

At the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), researchers investigated the potentially healthy impact of  global pandemic on environment, reducing the global emission of carbon dioxide by up to eight percent in 2020, which is a cumulative reductions magnitude required every year to accomplish the Paris Agreement goal by 2030, according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Yet, it is stated that the carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere has not changed due to the estimated emission reductions of the gas. These research findings were published in the Remote Sensing, MDPI.


According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), temperature warming as a result of human activities has caused approximately 1 °C above preindustrial levels in 2017. Currently, temperature rise is expected to reach 1.5 °C around 2040. Therefore, the Paris agreement aims to restrict the continuous warming and limit it to 1.5 °C implies emission reductions beginning immediately and CO2 emissions reaching zero by 2055. This emphasize the urgency for carbon dioxide emission estimates independently.

Source: WHO

In the study, research team used the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) and retrieved the data. The model was used to measure the concentrations of carbon dioxide from different layers of the atmosphere situated above the Garmisch-Partenkirchen and at other places around the globe. They used a high-tech infrared spectrometer, that uses sun as a source of light.

The team of researchers developed a mathematical framework to investigate and determine the yearly growth rate of temperature add up. It was found that with increased restriction on staying home, the traffic volumes have considerably reduced. Therefore, it is inferred from the statistical data, that the global pandemic has caused carbon dioxide emission reduction up to 8% annually. Further, it has led to enormous carbon dioxide reduction by 17% in April.

Ralf Sussmann from the Atmospheric Environmental Research Division of KIT’s Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU), KIT’s Campus Alpine, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, says, “To reduce CO2 concentration in the atmosphere in the long run, restrictions imposed during the corona pandemic would have to be continued for decades.”

He added, “But even this would be far from being sufficient. The restrictions imposed during the corona crisis, however, are far from being sufficient. They have just resulted in a one-time reduction by eight percent. To reach zero emissions in the coming decades, cumulative reductions of the same magnitude would be required every year, i.e. 16 percent in 2021, 24 percent in 2022, and so on. For this, political measures have to be taken to directly initiate fundamental technological changes in the energy and transport sectors.”


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