Who says there’s no good news coming out of the pandemic? Climate alarmists should at least be of good cheer heading into the Christmas season because there’s been a predictable side effect from the world being largely stuck in lockdown mode. Global carbon emissions have plunged considerably in 2020, though I don’t see any of the eco-warriors cheering about it very much. The amount of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere is down significantly, though not all countries are contributing to the decrease equally. The Associated Press reports that, unsurprisingly, the United States is leading the way in reducing emissions yet again, though this obviously isn’t going to be a long-term trend.
A locked-down pandemic-struck world cut its carbon dioxide emissions this year by 7%, the biggest drop ever, new preliminary figures show.
The Global Carbon Project, an authoritative group of dozens of international scientists who track emissions, calculated that the world will have put 37 billion U.S. tons (34 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide in the air in 2020. That’s down from 40.1 billion US tons (36.4 billion metric tons) in 2019, according a study published Thursday in the journal Earth System Science Data.
Scientists say this drop is chiefly because people are staying home, traveling less by car and plane, and that emissions are expected to jump back up after the pandemic ends.
Seven percent is a significant drop no matter how you measure it. But America was well above the global average, registering a drop of 12%. Europe was close on our heels, cutting emissions by eleven percent. Would you care to take a guess as to who showed the smallest decrease? If you said China, give yourself a cookie. They only registered a drop of 1.7%.
The cause for all of this should be fairly obvious. Automobiles account for approximately 25% of all carbon emissions caused by human beings. America is one of the most mobile, car-crazy countries in the world, so with most of the population stuck at home, people are driving far fewer miles. Europe is similarly in love with their cars, so they’ve seen a significant decrease also.
So what about China? Two factors appear to explain their stagnant emissions numbers. First, they didn’t engage in nearly as much of a prolonged lockdown after they unleashed the virus on the world. Also, it’s a less mobile nation and a much larger portion of its carbon emissions come from manufacturing and other industrial processes. They’ve never shown much interest in cutting emissions to begin with and the pandemic hasn’t changed that a bit.
Conversely, the United States was already leading the world in reducing emissions even before the pandemic struck. Improvements in drilling technology and a major shift toward the use of natural gas instead of coal or oil led to America making major cuts in carbon emissions and we somehow managed to do that without burdensome new regulations or joining the Paris climate accord. Of course, Joe Biden has already pledged to put us back into that agreement so we can be told what to do by countries that haven’t made anywhere near the progress we’ve achieved on that front.
This news should serve as a useful reminder that regulating industry in the United States isn’t the way to address the emissions question. If that’s your primary goal, you should be working on having fewer cars on the road and making them run more cleanly. But that idea never seems to make it into the Democrats’ platform, does it? It’s clearly more fun to try to impose a carbon tax on everyone.