Reduced Carbon Emissions: Silver lining on Covid-19 cloud | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 05, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:09 AM, June 05, 2020

Reduced Carbon Emissions: Silver lining on Covid-19 cloud

Bangladesh's carbon emissions have dropped by 24 percent to 183,000 tonnes per day during the recent countrywide shutdown.

It normally emitted around 240,000 tonnes per day (86 million tonnes per year), said a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Due to the shutdown in Bangladesh, daily carbon emissions in the country dropped by about 24 percent, according tothe study.

The environmental impact of the lockdowns in April, however, were felt not only in Bangladesh, but also across the world. The study revealed that global carbon emission per day decreased by 17 percent -- 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide -- in April, lower than the average emissions of 2019.

According to the report, 17 percent decrease in daily CO2 emissions is "extreme and probably unseen before".

In order to quantify the drop in carbon emissions, the authors examined data from more than 69 countries, including the US, and 30 Chinese provinces.

The sampling represents 85 percent of the world population and 97 percent of global carbon emissions.

According to the report, emissions decreased by 26 percent on average in all the countries at the peak of their respective shutdown.

Contacted via email, Prof Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia, the lead author of the paper, also suggested ways for Bangladesh to reduce its emissions.

"Mainly, a reduction in the production of electricity and a reduction in road transport," she said.

"For Bangladesh the biggest potential is to move from gas to renewable energy such as solar and wind power. Elsewhere in the world, the largest drops in emissions were from road transport. There, they are encouraging walking and cycling as well as moving towards electric transport as quickly as possible is the biggest potential.

"Still, that drop only brings emissions in line with where they were in 2006, which highlights how much emissions have spiked in the last 14 years."

The estimated total change in emissions from the pandemic amounts to 1,048 million tonnes of carbon dioxide until the end of April.

The changes are largest in China where the shutdowns started, with daily decrease of 242 tonnes of CO2, followed by 207 tonnes in the US, and 98 tonnes in India.

The report said reduction in annual emissions is projected to be around four to seven percent compared to 2019, depending on the duration of the lockdown and the extent of the recovery.

"If some restrictions remain worldwide until the end of the year, it would be around seven percent," the report said.

This estimate also echoed the view of the Global Energy Review that mentioned in its latest report published last month that decline in carbon emissions will be almost eight percent across the world this year.

Bangladesh had aimed to reduce CO2 emissions from transport, power, and industrial sectors down by five percent under normal circumstances.

And it also plans to cut it down by 15 percent by 2030, if support from other countries are available, saidMirza Shawkat Ali, director (Climate Change) of the Department of Environment.

A project has been initiated for updating the NDC (nationally determined contributions), he added.

"We have prepared an action plan to reduce carbon emission in three sectors – industry, transport and energy. Respective ministries are working to reduce carbon emission," he said. 

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