What is the effect of the global pandemic of 2020-2021 on climate change?
Global energy consumption is still on the rise. In fact, when we look at data over the past half century, there are only a handful of years where energy consumption did not increase – most notably being 2009, the year following the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) , and 2020, from the global pandemic. During the GFC energy consumption and therefore CO2eq emissions declined by 1.4% in 2009. This was followed immediately by a growth in emissions of 5.1% in 2010, well above the long term average, and emissions were back up to their "normal" path of 1% increase within 18 months. At the moment, the IEA is forecasting a 6-7.5% drop in energy consumption in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 which is consistent with forecasts from studies published in Nature and the IMF. Whilst this is the biggest drop in energy demand in 70 years (6 or 7 times more than the impact of the GFC in 2009), and is the equivalent of losing the entire energy demand of India (the world's third largest energy consumer), the IEA also forecasts an emission rebound of 5.8% for the world in 2021. So, without policy changes, the effects will be short-lived. According to Al Gore, we need 7/8% CO2eq reduction each and every year to keep global warming to 2 degrees by 2050. The equivalent emission reduction of more than this Covid year, each and every year, until 2050.
Climate Interactive have created a database of Covid-19 recovery plans which you can explore by clicking on this link. You can navigate this portal to explore, city, state and national leaders are developing actions that benefit racial, gender and economic equality while addressing climate mitigation and resilience.
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