Global Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions are expected to decline eight per cent to 30.6 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2020, reaching levels last seen in 2010, International Energy Agency, IEA, said as part of its Global Energy Review 2020.
The report highlighted that not only are annual CO2 emissions in 2020 set to decline at an unprecedented rate, the decline is also expected to be almost twice as large as all previous declines since the end of World War II.
“Such a reduction would be the largest ever, six times larger than the previous record reduction of 0.4 Gt in 2009 due to the financial crisis and twice as large as the combined total of all previous reductions since the end of World War II,” the report noted.
The report has attributed the decline in emissions to the steep decline in energy demand during the first quarter of 2020. CO2 emissions fell more than energy demand, as the most carbon-intensive fuels experienced the largest declines in demand during Q1 2020.
Global CO2 emissions were over 5 per cent lower in the first quarter of 2020 as compared to the corresponding quarter in 2019, mainly due to an eight per cent decline in emissions from coal, 4.5 per cent from oil and 2.3 per cent from natural gas.
According to the report, CO2 emissions declined the most in the regions that suffered the earliest and largest impacts of Covid-19. Of the almost 2.6 Gt reduction in CO2 emissions expected in 2020, reduced coal use would contribute over 1.1 Gt, followed by 1 Gt from oil and 0.4 Gt from gas.
The United States is expected to undergo the largest absolute declines at around 600 Mt, with China and the European Union not far behind.
The report cautioned that the rebound in emissions subsequently may be larger than the decline, unless the wave of investment to restart the economy is dedicated to cleaner and more resilient energy infrastructure.