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Pandemic Emissions Prove How Much of a Difference the U.S. Could Make by Driving Less

Driving in the United States accounted for five percent of global carbon emissions before the pandemic, but U.S. cars and trucks account for 20 percent of the global emission reductions during the pandemic.
November 19, 2020, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Charles Komanoff reports: "U.S. cars and trucks, the source of 5 percent of world carbon emissions, have accounted for a whopping 20 percent of this year’s global dip in carbon pollution, according to comprehensive emissions data compiled by Carbon Monitor and recalculated by me for the Carbon Tax Center."

To put those percentages in terms of raw numbers:

During the first three quarters of 2020, a period that roughly coincides with lockdowns and other restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels fell by more than 1.6 billion metric tons from the same period in 2019, a decline of 6.3 percent. Fully one-fifth of the decline, 320 million tons, was due to the nearly 25 percent drop in U.S. ground transport emissions. (A metric ton, roughly 1.1 short tons, is the standard metric for carbon emissions.)

Globally, half of the decline was traceable to reduced ground transportation, even though pre-pandemic, car and truck traffic only accounted for 19 percent of the total carbon emissions.

Hat tip to Streetsblog USA for sharing the article.

Previous Planetizen coverage of pandemic climate emission reductions:

As mentioned by Komanoff, the reductions are hard to celebrate when so many have suffered and died in the process.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 in Carbon Tax Center
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