Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam
WASHINGTON — The world has seen another record-breaking weekend, as global greenhouse gas emissions jumped by 6.6% on Saturday alone. And on Sunday, they climbed again, according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The surge comes at a time when the world is being flooded by millions of international travelers after the U.S. and the rest of the planet closed borders and shuttered other international exchanges amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The energy industry could soon face a ‘double-whammy’ of the coronavirus pandemic and a looming climate crisis with the global oversupply of fossil fuels,” said Bill Weich, director of the Clean Energy Transition and Climate Justice Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The more the COVID-19 crisis worsens, the stronger the economic imperative to decarbonize and stop fossil fuel subsidies,” he said, adding that “it’s a challenge to get any legislation through this Congress, and we’ll see more evidence of the need for a robust climate bill that addresses the fossil fuel industry’s role in the climate crisis.”
The global carbon dioxide emissions leapt 1.4% to 34.3-33.6 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2019, compared with 34.5 Gt in 2018, according to the EIA’s report. In 2018, the EIA also reported a 3.4% rise in global greenhouse gas emissions in the first seven months of 2019, to 31.8 Gt, compared with 31.7 Gt in 2018.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is driving the unprecedented surge in greenhouse gas emissions,” Weich said. “But the biggest driver is the COVID-19 crisis combined with the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
The EIA report cites both the EIA’s