Global carbon dioxide emissions for 2020 are forecast to be more than six times lower than they were in 2010 — the last time emissions dropped significantly. This amounts to an 8% decrease from 2019, according to a report from the International Energy Agency, following COVID-related lockdown measures that have put social and economic activity on hold.
Despite the circumstances by which the emissions drop came about, many of its consequences — cleaner air, emerging wildlife and better water quality — have been celebrated across the world. However, with a global economic recession playing out, investments in energy systems have been deprioritized, “slow[ing] the expansion of key clean energy technologies” the report’s authors note. They predict a 10%-15% decrease in investment in efficiency and end-use applications in 2020.
Many are looking to “build back better” and urging governments to incorporate renewable energy investments into recovery plans to “stimulate job creation and economic development,” the report says, “while reducing emissions and fostering further innovation.”