• Huge reductions in GHG emissions estimated during European lockdowns

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

An incredible 58% reduction in CO2 emissions has been estimated to have occurred in the EU 27 member states since COVID-19 lockdowns were put in place, as the Financial Times reports. The estimates were made by Sia Partners, a French consultancy specialising in energy, by working out how much a range of activities have been curbed during the lockdown period, and applying reduction factors to daily ‘normal’ CO2  ­generation from those activities – such as motor vehicle transport, the energy sector, shipping, industry, and aviation. The only sector to have increased emissions was households (up around 30%), while the energy sector dropped 40% and industry 57%. The huge estimated decrease gives a sense of how much of a drop in global greenhouse gas emissions might occur this year. If restrictions were to be in place for even a quarter of the year, and roughly similar restrictions took place worldwide, the global GHG emissions drop could be around 10% or more from 2019 levels, and this may give some impetus to climate change mitigation efforts. NO2 levels have also been dramatically lower in Europe during the lockdown period, as they have in China, though it is unclear if methane emissions will fall as well, as natural gas producers faced with falling revenues may not spend as they had planned in order to rein in fugitive emissions. Meanwhile, there have been suggestions that more lives will be saved from lower pollution levels than will die from COVID-19.