IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CARBON EMISSIONS

The unprecedented global disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic is likely causing a sharp, brief drop in carbon emissions. 

  • Due to global lockdown ‘s impact on transport, demand for oil has fallen at an unprecedented scale. 
  • Gas demand falls less than oil or coal. 
  • The country’s CO² emission fell down by 15% during March and fell 30%in April. 
  • According to Daily data from the national grid. Coal – fired power generation fell 15% in March and 31% in April. 
  • Renewable energy generation increased by 6.4% in March. 
  • Due to reduced power generation, Industrial activity and transport volume. Thus, it has reduced fossil – related and cement – induced CO² emission. 

China is  the first country where the virus’s impact on carbon emissions  became visible

Carbon dioxide emission in China

According to China Emissions Accounts and Datasets(CEADs) :

  • Reduction of 257.7 Mt. (11%) over Q1 2019
  • Secondary industry contributed 186.8Mt.(72.5%) CO² to the total reduction (largely due to lower coal consumption and cement production). 
  • Hubei contributed 40.6Mt. reduction (due to decrease of 48.2%in secondary industry).
  • Transportation significantly contributes 65.1Mt. With a change of – 22.3% in freight transport and – 59.1% in passenger transport compared with Q1 2019.

      Globally :

  • Aviation decreased by 75%.
  • Surface Transport by 50%.
  • Power generation by 15%.
  • Industry – uncertain but~35%.
  • Small increase in residential buildings of 5%.

     Fossil Fuel:

  • Drop 8% in 3 month and peak drop 17% unprecedented 
  • Emissions in individual countries decreased by ~27%.
  • Emission from surface transport accounted for 43% of decrease, industry and power together accounted 43% and aviation. 
  • Drop in CO² Emissions had no detectable impact on atmospheric CO² or Climate change 
  • It is extremely small compared to the emission accumulated. 

Carbon dioxide emissions in India 

  • As lower power demand growth and competition from renewables weakened the demand for thermal power generation through the last 1 year. 
  • CO² emission fell by an estimated 15% during March and 30% in April. 
  • The fiscal year ending March, coal sales by main coal producer Coal India Ltd. Fell by 4.3%.

Coal import increased by3.2%

Total coal delivery fell by 2%

  • In March, coal output increased 6.5%. 

     Oil Demand :

  • Oil consumption slow down since early 2019.
  • During national lockdown, oil consumption fell 18% on March 2020.
  • Crude oil production in India decrease 5.9% compared to last financial year.

Thus, CO² emissions fell by 30mt.(1.4%) in fiscal year ending March. 

Environmental health due to Carbon Emission during Global lockdown

  • The positive effect of lockdown is to decrease the CO2 emission by −17% (−11 to −25%) by 7th April 2020 with respect to the mean level of emission in 2019.
  •  Air quality index (AQI) is the assessment of air quality. The lower the AQI value, the better is the air. The normal air quality index range is (100−200) and presently it is in the satisfactory range (50–100) category as reported by Gurfam being a scientist at SAFAR. 
  • Zambrano-Monserrate et al. (2020) reported that the air quality index (AQI) has decreased by 44%, 33%, 29%, 15% and 32% in north, south, east, central and western India respectively. 
  • The same study also shows that from March 16th to April 14th, 2020, 22 cities of India show the reduction of PM10 (Particulate matter), PM2.5, CO, NO2, by 43, 31, 10 and 18%. During the quarantine period in COVID-19, the amount of NO2 was decreased by 22.8 μg/m3 and 12.9 μg/m3 in Wuhan and China respectively. 
  • In 367 cities, the PM2.5 fell by 18.9 μg/m3. As per the report of CAMS 2020 reduction of 20–30% of PM2.5 is observed in a wide area of China.
  •  Mahato et al.investigated that after three weeks of lockdown period from 24th March 2020, pollution of the Delhi, India, has experienced a noticeable reduction of different air pollution causing materials in the following Table

Comparison between different pollutants present in air before and after lockdown.

Reduction in carbon emission also lead to Ozone layer recovery over Antarctica:

  • The ozone layer is found in the upper atmosphere called the stratosphere between 10 and 50 km from the earth. 
  • The ozone layer acts as a natural sunscreen and plays a very important function by absorbing the harmful U—V rays from the sun. 
  • Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) are gases such as chlorine and/or bromine which breaks the ozone layer in the stratosphere. Various ODS are present in the environment are chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFCs), Methyl chloride and various halones.
  •  By the reaction with UV sunlight, these gases form chlorine and bromine and they are responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer. 
  • The international community signed the Montreal Protocol on substances about the depletion of the ozone layer, 30 years ago.
    •  According to the protocol, the consumption and production of ozone-depleting compounds should be regulated.
    •  By banning chlorine-containing synthetic compounds the rate of depletion declined and scientists expect to recover back to the 1980 level up to 2070.
    •  As per the scientific data of 2018, the stratosphere recovered at the rate of 1–3% per decade since 2000.
  •  After the lockdown began on Jan 23, the particulate matter pollution decreased by an average of 35% and NO2 decreased by an average of 60%. 
  • At the same period, scientists found the average surface ozone concentration increased by a factor of 1.5–2. 
  • Emission of ozone-depleting substances is also natural or man-made.
  •  All man-made emission is controlled because of lockdown during COVID-19. 
  • Production and consumption of ODS are also reduced. The World meteorological Organization (WMO) states that economic activity has been limited during COVID-19 which results in a decline in CO2 emission.
  •  In 2019, As per NASA and NOAA reported that the south pole region of Antarctica has warm temperature in the upper atmosphere which caused a small ozone hole since it was first seen in 1982 . 
  • On 23rd April 2020 Copernicus, atmospheric monitoring services (CAMS) announced that the largest hole was ever seen in the ozone layer over the arctic has been closed.
  •  Although lockdown is surely showing the prominent sign of nature, balance restoration of the ozone layer .
The map of holes in the ozone layer over Antarctica (a) 23rd May, 2020  (b) September 08, 2019

Impact of COVID 19 on Energy resources

The breakout of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) toward the end of 2019 and its culminating transformation into a global pandemic sent shockwaves across the nations. Not only people lost their lives to it, but also numerous industries and governments as a whole succumbed to its impacts. To prevent the spread of the disease, many countries have resorted to observing country-wide lockdowns, damaging the normalcy of their economy. The world economy has seen new lows by trillions of dollars during this period, giving rise to times of constant anxiety about the future. The renewable energy sector, which has always been one of the leading areas to promote sustainability in terms of the environment, too is not spared from being affected by the pandemic. An amalgamation of the effects of the pandemic on the global economy and fluctuating oil prices resulting from country-wide lockdowns across the world further triggered its impact on the renewable energy industry. This work highlights the extensive impacts of COVID-19 on the renewable energy sector of India, a country that has proved itself to be proactive and progressive when it comes to solutions toward sustainable development. It showcases the present impacts of the pandemic on the sector and highlights future projections of the way it may continue to affect this sector as the world continues to struggle with the pandemic. The authors have brought up a set of their opined regulations that the administration and policymakers of the renewable energy sector of India can adopt to avert or reduce the extensivity of the impact of COVID-19 on their sector.