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The coronavirus outbreak will likely cause a drop in global carbon dioxide emissions that's far larger than any prior crisis or war, per a new analysis that combines multiple datasets to provide a wide-ranging look at the pandemic's effect.

What they found: The analysis from the U.K.-based Carbon Brief provides a tentative estimate that global CO2 emissions are likely to fall by more than 4% from 2019 levels.

Courtesy Carbon Brief
  • Data from countries and sectors not yet available is expected to increase the total, they find, and also note that some estimates of oil consumption declines have grown since they completed their post.
  • They also caution that efforts to gauge the virus' effects are complicated by unknowns about the duration of the crisis and lockdowns, among other variables.

Why it matters: It provides a sense of the staggering effects of the outbreak that's freezing huge amounts of travel and economic activity.

  • But it also provides an unfolding, real-time look at the immense challenge implementing policies that cut emissions steeply enough to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

Here's how they contextualize a one-year drop of more 4%...

"Global emissions would need to fall by more than 6% every year this decade — more than 2,200MtCO2 annually — in order to limit warming to less than 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures."

Don't forget: Tracking the emissions effects isn't the same as celebrating them. The Carbon Brief piece clears its throat by noting the pandemic is "decimating lives, livelihoods and the normal functioning of society."

Go deeper: The pandemic and pollution

Go deeper

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.