The outbreak of coronavirus, which actually paralyzed for a time the Chinese economy has had an unexpected effect on the environment. It is reported by Science Alert, citing a report from the Center for research in energy and clean air (CREA).
Empty streets of Wuhan. Photo: Reuters
According to a recent study, carbon emissions in China over the past two weeks reduced to not less than 100 million metric tons. It’s almost 6% of global emissions over the same period last year.
The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than two thousand people and infected more than 74 thousand people across China, has led to a drop in demand for coal and oil, as well as to a decline in emissions, the study said, published in the British Carbon Brief.
The report also noted that over the last two weeks of daily power generation at coal-fired power plants, was on a four-year low, compared with the same period last year, while steel production fell to the lowest level in five years.
China is the world’s largest importer and consumer of oil, but the production of refineries in Shandong province — the oil hub of the country — fell to its lowest level since the autumn of 2015.
Economic activity in China usually increases after the New year according to the lunar calendar. But this year, the authorities extended the vacation for a week in many parts of the country, including Shanghai, to curb the epidemic. It is also, according to the report, resulted in a reduction of production by 15-40% in key industries. This probably eliminated a quarter or more of carbon dioxide emissions in the country over the past two weeks.
But environmentalists warn that the decline is temporary. Most likely, when the outbreak subsides, the plants will try to catch up and ramp up production.
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