How Do We Sustain Historic Emissions Reductions Once the Lockdowns Lift?

In 2019, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reported that “unless global greenhouse gas emissions fall by 7.6 percent each year between 2020 and 2030, the world will miss the opportunity to get on track towards the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.”

It used to be difficult to conceptualize what kind of global commitment was necessary to achieve these emissions reductions. But in the age of COVID-19, the scale of this commitment has become clear. In fact, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 2020 emissions are expected to fall by eight percent compared to 2019.

In other words, it took a worldwide economic lockdown to achieve the scale of emissions reductions that the U.N. says are needed for the next decade. However, as noted by foreign policy academic Walter Russell Mead in a recent Wall Street Journal column, “most of the measures that led to the drop in emissions aren’t economically sustainable.”

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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