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Why This Matters: This is good news for air pollution in general as well as for climate change. We needed to put the breaks on continual increases in CO2 emissions — and this was a hard way to do it. But, but, but — methane emissions, an even more potent greenhouse gas, may not have declined at all during the pandemic. And as the IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol put it, “Despite a record drop in global emissions this year, the world is far from doing enough to put them into decisive decline.” Yup.
What Is the Energy Use Trajectory?
As laid out in The Hill, in 2020, global energy demand will decline by 5% and energy investment will drop by 18%, according to the report because the use of oil, coal, and natural gas will all decline this year. In the long run, the IEA Report projects that oil demand will decline by 8%, coal by 7%, and natural gas by 3%. Interestingly, the Report anticipates that coal will never return to pre-COVID levels, but instead will remain 8% lower than in 2019 all the way through 2030. At the same time, the Report projects that oil demand will recover by 2023 and will continue to rise until 2030, and then it will plateau.
Visualizing CO2 Emissions in the US
Meanwhile, tools are being created to help federal, state and local regulators to cut CO2 emissions. In a study published last week in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Kevin Gurney of Northern Arizona State created visualizations that show the details of greenhouse gas emissions across the entire U.S. landscape at high space- and time-resolution with details on the economic sector, fuel, and combustion process. Gurney had previously developed and published emissions maps of several large cities, including the Los Angeles megacity, Indianapolis, the Washington, D.C./Baltimore metropolitan area and Salt Lake City. Then, as part of the Vulcan Project funded by NASA, he was able to quantify and visualize greenhouse gases emitted across the entire country down to individual power plants, neighborhoods and roadways. By drilling down to the sources of emissions, regulators at all levels can identify problem areas, thus enabling better decisions about where to cut emissions most effectively.
In 2020, oil and gas use is down but methane leaks are up dramatically during the same time period according to a study by the energy data firm Kayrros, Reuters and The Washington Post reported. Oil and gas companies had pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.
by Julia Fine, ODP Contributing Writer New Delhi officials have “introduced an antipollution campaign in an attempt to curb air pollution ahead of winter, when the city is regularly covered in toxic haze,” the Associated Press reported this week. The city of 21 million people New Delhi has some of the worst air quality in […]
The smoke from California’s wildfires has had far-reaching consequences beyond the human health aspect. Aside from ruining the grape harvest for numerous wineries in Northern California wineries, over a month of smoky skies has had an impact on the state’s ability to reduce the very carbon emissions that have been fueling wildfires. As The Verge […]
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