ShapChart – The World is Locked Down, yet the Paris Target is Still out of Reach

Coronavirus has put half of the world’s population into lockdown. People are not commuting to work, traveling by air or road, shopping, going to events or eating out.  The global economy has literally ground to a halt. Oil demand has collapsed as a result, dropping about 30 percent compared to before the pandemic. Natural gas and power demand has declined too, in the range of 5 or 10 percent.

With this widespread slowdown in human activity, surely we have made the GHG reductions needed to achieve the Paris Target today? Surprisingly, this level of personal sacrifice and energy constraint does not even accomplish it.

This week’s SnapChart compares scenarios for GHG emissions from fossil fuels. In order to achieve the 2030 Paris Target, emissions would need to fall by 23 percent[1]. If citizens around the world were forced into a year-long lockdown, a prolonged extension of the current situation, we estimate GHG emissions would only be down in the range of 15 percent year-on-year.   It is sobering to think that even with this level of consumer restriction, the Paris Target is still out of reach.

[1] Paris Target uses the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Sustainable Development Scenario that is consistent with keeping the world’s long term temperature rise “well below 2ºC of warming.”