Greenhouse Gas Emissions Predicted To Have Largest Ever Decrease

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 03 May 2020 13:30
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Predicted To Have Largest Ever DecreaseGreenhouse Gas Emissions Predicted To Have Largest Ever DecreasePA Images/NASA

While the COVID-19 pandemic is negatively affecting the world in many ways, one thing it has positively contributed to is the environment. 


With millions of people staying home during the on-going health crisis, emissions greenhouse gases like CO2 are continuing to decrease, with projections showing it may go on to be the largest ever drop.

In a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), it was found there has been a 3.8% decrease in energy demand in 2020’s first quarter compared to 2019.

carbon dioxide emissionscarbon dioxide emissionsPA Images

With this in mind, the IEA therefore predict there will be a whopping 8% decrease in energy-related CO2 emissions in Europe and China, and a 9% decrease in the United States. However, it must be noted the decrease is not entirely due to the pandemic, in the US for example, a proportion of it was caused by a warmer-than-average winter, NPR reports.


The annual energy demand is predicted to drop by 6% – something which hasn’t been seen since World War II.

Oil has seen the largest decrease in demand, followed by coal and gas. Despite there being a general decrease in the demand for energy, there has also been an increase in renewable energy.

Climate change Fossil FuelsClimate change Fossil FuelsPA Images

IEA explained its findings further: 

Energy demand is set to decline in all major regions in 2020. Demand in China is projected to decline by more than 4%, a reversal from average annual demand growth of nearly 3% between 2010 and 2019. In India, energy demand would decline for the first time, following on from low demand growth in 2019.

However, it is advanced economies that will experience the greatest declines in energy demand in 2020. In both the European Union and the United States, demand in 2020 is likely to fall around 10% below 2019 levels, almost double the impact of the global financial crisis.

While this is news that will – hopefully – positively affect the amount of air pollution, we must remember that climate change is still happening.

For example, the recent bushfires in Australia sent plumes of smoke – and therefore masses of carbon emissions – into the atmosphere, which will affect both the areas ravaged by the fires and the environment as a whole for years to come.

Similarly, the recent fires in Chernobyl have caused a huge radiation spike in the area.

Climate changeClimate changePexels

Activists are concerned the government’s post-pandemic priorities will be to restore the economy without taking into account how it may impact the environment.

On the surface, lower emissions of harmful greenhouse gases is good news. However, the UN has said we must continue cutting global emissions every year for the next decade in order to combat global warming.

While the pandemic may have helped in getting the ball rolling on saving the planet, we must continue to do so when it’s all over.

It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.

Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Carbon Emissions, Climate Change, Greenhouse gases, International Energy Agency, World News


International Energy Agency and 1 other
  1. International Energy Agency

    Global energy and CO2 emissions in 2020

  2. NPR

    Greenhouse Gas Emissions Predicted To Fall Nearly 8% — Largest Decrease Ever