Fossil fuel companies push emissions to pre-pandemic levels

“Emissions snapped back like a rubber band.”


CO2 emissions had declined immensely over the course of the 2020 Covid pandemic all over the planet. 

On April 7, 2020, global carbon dioxide emissions plummeted to levels not seen since 2006, according to a study that suggests the coronavirus pandemic might have led to the largest reduction in CO2 ever recorded, reported the Scientific American

But, as the world has opened back up, the burning of fossil fuels has resulted in emissions almost reaching pre-pandemic levels. 

“Emissions snapped back like a rubber band. That’s the same thing we saw after 2008, where emissions dropped 1.5% in 2009 and then jumped 5% in 2010 as if nothing had changed,” says Robert Jackson, an Earth system science professor at Stanford University and chair of the Global Carbon Project.

New research, done by the Global Carbon Project, says fossil carbon emissions dropped by 5.4% in 2020 amid Covid lockdowns, but the new report projects an increase of 4.9% this year (4.1% to 5.7%) to 36.4 billion tonnes

“The rapid rebound in emissions as economies recover from the pandemic reinforces the need for immediate global action on climate change,” says Professor Pierre Friedlingstein, of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute, who led the study. “The rebound in global fossil CO2 emissions in 2021 reflects a return towards the pre-Covid fossilbased economy. Investments in the green economy in post-Covid recovery plans of some countries have been insufficient so far, on their own, to avoid a substantial return close to pre-Covid emissions.”

According to Common Dreams, the research team’s latest report projects that the world is set to burn through its so-called “carbon budget”—the amount of CO2 nations can emit and still keep warming below 1.5°C by the end of the century—in just 11 years.


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