Carbon emission declines 25% as most industries in China remain shut

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Carbon emission declines 25% as most industries in China remain shut
Carbon emission declines 25% as most industries in China remain shut

New Delhi : In last few days, China has registered a decline of 25 per cent in the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission after many industries and factories remained un-operational due to coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak.

According to an analysis by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), spread of COVID-19 to the United States (US) and Europe has led to a significant reduction to both airline capacity utilisation and global oil demand.

The CO2 emission reduction in China is mainly due to coal consumption in the world’s most populous country’s power plants falling by 36%; coal throughput at the largest coal port declining by 29%, oil refinery utilisation capacity reducing by 34% and low output among major industrial sectors which may have decreased by a range of 15% to 40% during the same period, said the analysis published in Carbon Brief, a United Kingdom-based portal on climate change.

Every year during the Chinese New Year in February, China closes major installations, construction sites for a week leading to a reduction in energy demand but this year the usual fall in energy use has been prolonged amid no sign of a rebound.

Space agencies like NASA and European Space Agency’s (ESA) pollution monitoring satellites have registered a significant drop in NO2 concentrations as well over China in February.

“There is evidence that the change is at least partly related to the economic slowdown following the outbreak of coronavirus,” a NASA Earth observatory analysis said.

“This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop over such a wide area for a specific event,” Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is quoted saying in the analysis.

While the global crisis is a sad thing, it has given learning that the pollution can be controlled with simple measures.

“Many of the travel restrictions in place in China have come at a tremendous human and economic cost -- people not being able to access health care, go to work among others. However, there has also been impressive adoption of video conferencing, remote working and other modern solutions in businesses, which are a real alternative to commuting and business travel. There is a possibility that once the crisis is over, we will see a permanent change in using these solutions to reduce the need to spend time, money and fossil fuels on travel,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, a Finland-based lead analyst of CREA.