Norwegian study: ‘Corona slowing down long-term CO2 emissions’
The emissions of greenhouse gases are 8% lower than last year due to the corona outbreak. And this sudden decline will not be compensated by later increases. According to the Norwegian research bureau DNV GL, 2019 will go down in history as the year with the highest CO2 emission levels ever.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed a lot and some effects will remain partly permanent. Some expect that employees will commute less frequently and work from home. So, they less often use the car, which is saving CO2 emissions. As teleworking is here to stay, fewer office buildings are needed. This, in turn, will save a lot of construction materials like steel, glass, and concrete.
The aviation sector will not recover completely, “and that is why we think that demand for energy will be 6 to 8% lower than before the corona health crisis until 2050,” says chairman of the board, Remi Eriksen. “Emissions will continue to increase slightly, but they will never ever reach the level of 2019.”
‘Change in supply and demand’
In the meantime, the use of coal went down, and traditional energy sources like oil, gas, and coal are more and more replaced by solar and wind energy and biomass. Natural gas will become the most important energy source. The use of it also produces CO2, but far less than the use of coal or oil, and it will more often be captured and stocked.
So, the corona blow finally is positive for the climate. Eriksen says he sees a “huge change in supply and demand of energy within one generation”. “Halfway this century, hardly half of all energy will come from fossil sources. In 2032, half of all new cars sold will be electric.”
More renewable energy sources
Today, 80% of energy still comes from fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. Within one generation, half of it will come from renewable sources. The share of electricity in the energy market is doubling.”
Still, it is not enough to meet the Paris climate agreements. “Then global emissions of greenhouse gases should decrease year after year – until 2050 – at this year’s pace.” According to Eriksen’s calculations, CO2 emissions in 2050 will be half of those today. It’s a giant decrease, but it’s what we should achieve by 2030.
“At this pace, we will have emitted so much CO2 that temperature in the world will rise 1,5 degrees.” Eriksen expects CO2 in the air will be so high that temperature will go up with 2,3 degrees.
At this moment, the world still spends 3% of its money on energy; in 2050, it will only be 1,6%, mainly because renewable energy is cheaper. So, if we continue to spend 3%, we could easily achieve the Paris climate goals, DNV GL concludes.