Study: Carbon emissions sharply rebound as countries lift coronavirus restrictions

CNBC discusses how carbon emissions have sharply rebounded as countries lift coronavirus restrictions.

  • Carbon emissions are now surging back to prepandemic levels as states and countries reopen, a grim reminder that the world is still grappling with accelerating climate change.
  • By mid-June, global emissions rebounded to roughly 5% below 2019 levels and in emissions in China returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to an update in a May study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
  • During lockdowns, vehicle traffic was cut in half in the U.S. and Europe, but more people are getting back on the road and taking cars over public transportation.

In early January, global emissions were at roughly 2019 levels. By early April, emissions fell by about 17% during the peak lockdowns. But by mid-June, when countries began lifting restrictions, emissions increased to about 5% below the 2019 levels and emissions in China fully returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to an update in a May study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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