By Elyse Geiger
With the halting of normal life as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, greenhouse gas emissions decreased. Though, with an increase of activity due to modified restrictions, greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise again and are projected to continue increasing in the coming months.
The International Energy Agency reports that global energy-related CO2 emissions fell by 5.8%, an unprecedented amount. Transportation was the sector with the largest decline this past year. While this significant change was heralded as one positive effect of the global lockdown, some emissions areas were largely unaffected by the pandemic, such as renewables and electric vehicles. With the transition back to normal life and resulting economic activity, the sectors that decreased in 2020 are now on a sharp incline. Because of this, experts are projecting that greenhouse emissions are going to rise faster than ever before, the debates surrounding climate and environmental policy will also return to being urgent and polarized.
Although greenhouse gas emissions saw an unprecedented decline in 2020, 2021 will surely not be the same. Emissions are already quickly rising, and experts are projecting that they will continue to increase sharply in the coming months due to increasing economic activity and the return to normalcy.