• Soho Kim

The Effects of Covid-19 on Global Warming

Updated: Mar 11

It’s well-known news by now that Covid-19 has restricted the ability to step out of our homes freely. Words like “quarantine,” “social-distancing,” and “global pandemic” have increased their usage in 2020 as the number of COVID-19 cases, and deaths. However, there is some good that can come out of this unprecedented situation. Global warming can be directly linked to air pollutants and the trapping of greenhouse gases. and the decrease in road traffic, international shipping, and aviation, the emission of several air pollutants have decreased significantly.

According to the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, carbon dioxide emissions decreased by around 17% at the beginning of 2020 compared to that of 2019. Which brought the expected carbon dioxide emission decrease for the entirety of 2020 to around -7%. In Europe alone, nitrogen dioxide emissions were significantly reduced in April 2020, some reductions going over -60% in some cities. Though the worldwide figures may not seem that significant, it is a lot given the context. Approximately, 2.4 billion tonnes of CO2 was dropped, bringing the previous 36.4 billion tonnes to 34 billion.

With this report, the effects of reduced emissions are prominent, as several reports of better air quality, lower temperatures, and clearer skies were reported in late 2020 and the beginning of 2021. For example, Korea’s temperatures this January has been reported to be extremely low. The average lowest temperature for January of 2020 (before severe lockdown regulations) was reported to be -11°C, while the January of 2021, the lowest average temperature forecasted this month was -19°C.

According to a BBC article, “2021 could be [the] turning point for climate change”, which means that this year, the world has the best chance to slow down global warming and reduce pollutant emissions. Some arguments from the article include how renewable energy has become cheaper and talk about deep carbon cuts. In conclusion, things are looking up, particularly concerning climate change and global warming as we journey in our commitment to ending global warming.