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While reduced activity associated with the COVID-19 lockdowns is expected to cut carbon emissions by 4-7% this year, the decrease is insignificant in the long run. According to Oksana Tarasova, WMO Chief of Atmospheric and Environment Research Division, although it looked like the pandemic had brought the world to a standstill, carbon emissions continued almost unabated because lockdowns do not reduce overall energy consumption. Lockdowns only affect mobility.
Carbon is emitted whether it's the energy being used to heat your home work space or the carbon footprint left from sending an email that typically would have been an in-person conversation. Furthermore, with the fear of COVID-19 transmission, there has been an unprecedented decrease in mass transit ridership. This continued decrease will have a dramatic effect on carbon emissions as more people opt to buy cars and steer clear of rideshare options.
Manager, Executive Office, Board & Volunteer Relations
National Institute of Building Sciences
President & CEO, IBHS
Assistant General Manager for Planning & Strategic Initiatives at SEPTA
Chief Sustainability Officer, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Chief Executive Officer, Energy & Environmental Building Alliance