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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 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategy

Biden signs executive orders on Jan. 21. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

"It's gonna get worse before it gets better": President Biden expects 100,000 Americans to die from COVID-19 during his first six weeks in office.

The big picture: Biden said he's putting America on a wartime footing against the virus, signing 10 executive orders today alone.

Jan 22, 2021 - Health

Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as coronavirus cases surge

Hong Kong health workers patrol a street where COVID-19 cases have been confirmed. Photo: Anthony Kwan via Getty Images

Hong Kong will place tens of thousands of residents on lockdown to curtail outbreaks in neighborhoods with aging, subdivided apartments, the government announced Thursday.

Why it matters: It’s the first time Hong Kong has imposed a lockdown since the pandemic began. The restrictions will begin Saturday and last for at least two weeks.