Just as the outbreak has had a considerable impact on the global economy, travel restrictions and the suspension of industrial activity have led to an unprecedented drop in global emissions, according to the oil-price Network on July 9.
According to data from the Integrated Carbon Observing System (ICOS) based in Helsinki, daily carbon emissions were 17 per cent below the 2019 average in the week to April, with some countries' carbon dioxide emissions down 26 per cent.
This is the biggest drop on record and global emissions have fallen back to 2006 levels. In both absolute and percentage terms, this is a far bigger drop than at other similar moments in history, such as the 1973 Arab oil embargo or the 2008 global financial crisis.
However, with the easing of the embargo and the resumption of economic activity, emissions have increased.
By June 10th emissions had rebounded to just 4.7% below pre-blockade levels, according to ICOS statistics, and are recovering faster than many had expected.
Global energy investment is affected
This development has led many to conclude that austerity measures alone are not enough to boost economic growth while reducing emissions enough, and that environmentally friendly solutions must be adopted to ensure sustainable development in the future.
Bundit Sapianchai, President and CEO of Thai renewable energy company BCPG, told OBG that from a policy perspective, countries should be more active in promoting green energy. The epidemic has cleared the way for green energy through lifestyle changes.
A report in June by the Paris-based International Energy Agency said global energy investment would fall 20 per cent this year to about $400bn, adding to calls for more green investment.