This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Carbon dioxide emissions must fall by the equivalent of a global lockdown roughly every two years for the next decade for the world to keep within safe limits of global heating, research has shown.
Lockdowns around the world led to an unprecedented fall in emissions of about 7 percent in 2020, or about 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2, but reductions of between 1 billion and 2 billion tonnes are needed every year of the next decade to have a good chance of holding temperature rises to within 1.5 degrees or 2 degrees C of preindustrial levels, as required by the Paris Agreement.
Research published on Wednesday shows that countries were beginning to slow their rates of greenhouse gas emissions before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, but not to the levels needed to avert climate breakdown. Since lockdowns were eased in many countries last year, there have been strong signs that emissions will rise again to above 2019 levels, severely damaging the prospects of fulfilling the Paris goals.
Corinne Le Quéré, the lead author of the study, said the world... Read more