COVID-19 causes largest fall in emissions since WWII

5th November 2020

Web emissions istock 475661104

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Energy ,
  • sea ice loss ,
  • Renewable ,
  • Global


Jayne Beacham

A significant drop in energy consumption due to COVID-19 has led to the largest reduction of greenhouse gas emissions since World War II, according to consultancy firm Capgemini.

In a new report, Capgemini said that it expects global energy sector emissions to fall by 7-8% this year as a result of mobility restrictions and industrial slowdowns. This is up sharply from the 0.4% reduction in energy emissions recorded in 2019, however, the researchers warned that this is likely to be temporary. “Emissions will likely rise again as the world recovers from the pandemic,“ said Colette Lewiner, energy and utilities senior advisor at Capgemini. “By way of illustration, it would take a similar restriction, every year for the next 10 years, to get on the right environmental trajectory, which is of course unviable. Profound changes are needed to reach climate change objectives.“ The report shows that energy demand growth was slowing even before COVID-19 lockdowns, with consumption increasing by just 0.7% last year, compared to 2.2% in 2018. Renewables accounted for more than half of worldwide electricity generation investments, while batteries for electric vehicles and stationary storage costs decreased by 19%. However, the increasing share of intermittent renewables generation has made grid balancing more difficult. Meanwhile, the EU hopes to reach a share of 12-14% in 2050 for green hydrogen in its energy mix following a ‚Ǩ180-470bn investment. Looking beyond COVID-19, the report also highlights how one-third of the ‚Ǩ750bn European recovery fund will be dedicated to sustainability and energy transition projects. Although describing this as “very good progress“, the researchers warned that execution of those plans will be crucial, and recommend tracking these sustainability funds and reinforcement of the 'green' conditionality for allocation. Read the full report here: Image credit: iStock


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

UK off track for net zero by 2030, CCC warns

Only a third of the emission reductions required for the UK to achieve net zero by 2030 are covered by credible plans, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has warned today.

18th July 2024

Read more

Almost three-fifths of UK environmental professionals feel there is a green skills gap across the country’s workforce, or that there will be, a new survey has uncovered.

4th July 2024

Read more

Climate hazards such as flooding, droughts and extreme heat are threatening eight in 10 of the world’s cities, new research from CDP has uncovered.

3rd July 2024

Read more

Ahead of the UK general election next month, IEMA has analysed the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Green Party manifestos in relation to the sustainability agenda.

19th June 2024

Read more

Nine in 10 UK adults do not fully trust brands to accurately portray their climate commitments or follow the science all the time, a new survey has uncovered.

19th June 2024

Read more

Just one in 20 workers aged 27 and under have the skills needed to help drive the net-zero transition, compared with one in eight of the workforce as a whole, new LinkedIn data suggests.

18th June 2024

Read more

With a Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures in the pipeline, Beth Knight talks to Chris Seekings about increased recognition of social sustainability

6th June 2024

Read more

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close