Lower Carbon Emissions with Less Travel

By Emily Dewey

Climate change is something the world has been battling for decades. Through industry, plastic waste, air travel, pollution through cars and busses, etc., the climate only gets worse. Scientists have warned us of extreme dangers to come if everyone does not take their part in combating this crisis.

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic brought many restrictions, including travel. International borders closed leaving most people confined to their homes. Although it produces negative side effects mentally, this has proven to be a “pandemic positive” for our environment. According to many scientists, before the pandemic, carbon dioxide emissions were rising about 1% per year compared to other decades. Increased Fossil energy usage was the main source of this. School closures, public transportation being suspended, and airports limiting trips are upon the leading factors in emissions dropping in the past 11 months. According to Nature Climate Change, “At their peak, emissions in individual countries decreased by –26% on average”. This proves monumental in relation to the mean number of emissions in 2019. The figure to the right illustrates just how evident the decrease in carbon emissions is from the months March- April, when the first lockdown occurred.

Unfortunately, this is not lasting. With more people ignoring guidelines, and the border restrictions slowly lifting, carbon emissions are steadily returning to dangerous levels again. Holidays such as Thanksgiving and December celebrations saw a spike in plane tickets sold, and cars travelling to visit family. Not only is this directly correlating to the spread of COVID-19, it is also negatively correlating to the increase of carbon emissions. The Biden- Harris administration is combating this issue, passing many executive orders and drafting plans on how to combat our climate crisis.

Humans from all around the world have proven how easy it is to lower carbon emissions to help keep our Earth around longer. Less unnecessary travel is one of these examples, as seen in the drop of emissions over the course of several months. A drop of 26% is a starting point, and the environment proves appreciative of the actions taken to reduce fossil fuels, pollution, and waste.

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