Cascading COVID-style lockdown: Only way to save the planet!

Guest “we had to destroy village in order to save it” by David Middleton

Equivalent of Covid emissions drop needed every two years – study
Equivalent falls in emissions over a decade required to keep to safe limits of global heating, experts say

Fiona Harvey, Environment correspondent
Wed 3 Mar 2021

Carbon dioxide emissions must fall by the equivalent of a global lockdown roughly every two years for the next decade for the world to keep within safe limits of global heating, research has shown.

Lockdowns around the world led to an unprecedented fall in emissions of about 7% in 2020, or about 2.6bn tonnes of CO2, but reductions of between 1bn and 2bn tonnes are needed every year of the next decade to have a good chance of holding temperature rises to within 1.5C or 2C of pre-industrial levels, as required by the Paris agreement.


The Grauniad

The Grauniad article is referring to Le Quéré et al., 2021: “Fossil CO2 emissions in the post-COVID-19 era.”

Covid emissions? WTF? Fossil emissions? WTF’ingF? Fossils stopped emitting gases before they became fossils.

After just reading the first few paragraphs of The Grauniad dreck, I jumped to the Le Quéré and saw that it mostly prattled about rich countries not becoming Third World countries to save the planet… But, it did feature this nifty graph:

a, Annual emissions for 1970–2019 in GtCO2 yr−1, including a projection for 2020 (in red) on the basis of the analysis of the Global Carbon Project1 and their uncertainties (shading; Methods). b, Daily change in emissions in 2020 caused by COVID-19 restrictions, compared to a mean day in 2019, for the globe, updated from initial publication in May 2020 (ref. 3). c, As in b but for three economic income groups: the Annex B country group of mostly high-income economies with emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol; upper-middle-income economies (including China) as defined by the World Bank; and lower-middle-income economies and low-income economies (including India) as a single group. Global economic and energy crises are highlighted in a, along with key international policy dates.
Source data

The first thing I noticed was the effectiveness (/SARC) of Kyoto and Paris:

Date Notable events Δ GtCO
12/11/1997 1997 Kyoto Agreement Adopted 0.2 1998-1999
2/16/2005 2005 Kyoto Agreement Effective 1.9 2006-2007
12/12/2015 2015 Paris Agreement Adopted 0.5 2016-2017
11/4/2016 2016 Paris Agreement Effective 1.2 2017-2018
Average 1.0
Climate agreements cause emissions to rise. Modified after Le Quéré et al., 2021.

While, financial events seem to be the only way to reduce CO2 emissions:

Date Year Notable events Δ GtCO
1/1/1973 1973 Oil Crisis -0.1 1974-1975
1/1/1979 1979 US Savings and Loans Crisis -0.6 1980-1981
1/1/1991 1991 Collapse of the Soviet Union -0.5 1992-1993
1/1/2008 2008 Global Financial Crisis 1.2 2009-2010
1/1/2020 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic -2.6 Just 2020
Average -0.5
Unemployment causes emissions to fall. Modified after Le Quéré et al., 2021.

The Grauniad journalist wrote that we needed a COVID-style lockdown every other year to save the planet (my paraphrasing). However, Le Quéré et al appear to be calling for what would amount to a cascading COVID-style lockdown:

Although the measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic will reduce emissions by about 7% in 2020, they will not, on their own, cause lasting decreases in emissions because these temporary measures have little impact on the fossil fuel-based infrastructure that sustains the world economy2.


The task of sustaining decreases in global emissions of the order of billion tonnes of CO2 per year21, while supporting economic recovery and human development, and improved health, equity and well-being, lies in current and future actions. 

Le Quéré et al., 2021

This is what “decreases in global emissions of the order of billion tonnes of CO2 per year” through 2050 would look like:

CO2 emissions (GtCO2/yr). Data from CDIAC and Le Quéré et al., 2021.

This would result in global CO2 emissions as low as The Great Depression. Figuring out how to immediately do this “while supporting economic recovery and human development, and improved health, equity and well-being,” would be a neat trick, considering that only economic distress has s successful track record in reducing emissions.

Had COVID attacked “the fossil fuel-based infrastructure that sustains the world economy” instead of people, this sort of reduction would have been achievable. But it would have only delivered “equity”… we’d all be equally dead in a few years.

What’s even more insane than the total reduction they are calling for?

Growing at a slower pace, world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050 and could peak at nearly 11 billion around 2100
17 June 2019, New York

The world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion persons in the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050, according to a new United Nations report launched today.


UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

If we insist on destroying the economy to save the planet, in 2050 the per capita emissions would only be about 1/3 of what they were in 1900. This would also deliver equity… Unless you’re a king.

Oh… I almost forgot…

Saving the Planet?

WARNING: Lot’s of F-bombs!!!


Boden, Tom, Gregg Marland, Bob Andres. Global CO2 Emissions from Fossil-Fuel Burning, Cement Manufacture, and Gas Flaring: 1751-2008. June 10, 2011. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-6290

Le Quéré, C., Peters, G.P., Friedlingstein, P. et al. Fossil CO2 emissions in the post-COVID-19 era. Nat. Clim. Chang. 11, 197–199 (2021).

Like this:

Like Loading…


via Watts Up With That?

March 5, 2021 at 12:09PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s