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Reproduced from Global Carbon Budget 2020; Chart: Axios Visuals

Newly published research shows that global CO2 emissions dropped an estimated 7% this year as the pandemic curtailed travel and economic activity.

Why it matters: It's a record decline, according to the Global Carbon Project research consortium, with transportation-related emissions accounting for the largest share of the drop.

Yes, but: It's what comes next that's really on the minds of the analysts. They say that emissions are heading for a rebound in 2021, though it's not clear how large it will be. The rebound is already happening even as COVID-19 cases are at record levels.

  • “Much of the world is now experiencing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, but daily emissions have not dropped nearly as much in the second wave as during the first wave," said Glen Peters of Norway's CICERO Center for International Climate Research.
  • Peters, a co-author of the annual analysis, said current emissions are now close to 2019 levels.

The big picture: Tragic pandemics are not a climate policy, and getting on track to meet the Paris Agreement's goals would require major emissions cuts every year. So researchers are watching how countries’ economic responses to the pandemic will affect emissions going forward.

  • "Government actions to stimulate the economy at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic can ... help lower emissions and tackle climate change," says researcher Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia.
  • “Incentives that help accelerate the deployment of electric cars and renewable energy and support walking and cycling in cities are particularly timely given the extensive disturbance observed in the transport sector this year," she adds.

Go deeper: World carbon dioxide emissions drop 7% in pandemic-hit 2020 (AP)

Go deeper

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Pfizer coronavirus vaccine safe, effective in children, company says — The COVID booster vaccine discussion is far from over — Cuba becomes first country to begin mass vaccination of children.
  2. Health: Chicago has highest COVID-19 case rates in city worker neighborhoods — International Mission Board to require COVID vaccine for missionaries.
  3. Politics: Biden administration to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated international travelers — Footage shows new details after NYC restaurant incident over proof of vaccination.
  4. Education: More schools using "test-to-stay" strategy to minimize quarantines — Most Kentucky school boards vote in favor of mask mandates —Denver looks to students to close Latino vaccination gap.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

NYC set to restart indoor dining in February, weddings in March

Outdoor dining in New York City in January. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that if the current coronavirus positivity in New York City holds, indoor dining will reopen at 25% capacity on Feb. 14, one of the busiest dining days of the year.

Why it matters: The forced closure of indoor dining in December caused major backlash, as New York's struggling restaurant industry had already been hit hard by pandemic restrictions. Restaurants will still be required to close at 1o p.m.