Carbon emissions down during the pandemic

Storm Team 10's David Siple looked into how carbon emissions reacted to fewer drivers on the road throughout the pandemic.

Posted: Jan 22, 2021 4:36 PM

WABASH VALLEY (WTHI-TV) - Many of us have been forced to work from home, since last March, when the pandemic and shutdowns began. So, we have spent less time driving. And less time driving is putting less CO2 and carbon emissions in the atmosphere.

“We have a really good opportunity to determine if we can really lower our contributions to CO2 gases, which is definitely causing temperatures to rise.”

Dr. Amos Winter, a professor of the earth and environmental systems at Indiana State University, says the pandemic has been able to shed some light on human impacts to climate change.

At the beginning of 2020, we saw global carbon emissions close to the carbon emissions we saw back a year before, in 2019.
California was the first state to impose a lockdown in March. That’s when emissions began to drop even faster in 2020. Almost a 6.4% decrease in carbon emissions. 

Amos says, with this data, maybe we can dive further into the research to get to the number one goal climate scientists are trying to reach. “Well, it’s quite simple. Keep the temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees in the next 10 years.”

I spoke with Sydney Drake, a senior in environmental geology, and she says this data can help shed more light on the problem. “A good evidence to show people, because a lot of people don’t believe in climate change. But you can use the evidence of less travel and fewer jobs going on right now that really showcases how we can actually impact our environment.”

Sydney mentions not only has the entire globe been impacted by increased carbon emissions, but even the Wabash Valley can take center stage on climate change.
“I grew up on a river. I love fishing. And we’ve killed so many fish and so many of the fish population are just completely ruined because of climate change and overfishing.”

Amos wants to remind everyone that we have to take care of our planet. “Whether you believe in global warming or not we have to be good stewards of the planet."

Carbon emissions are back up on the rise now that lockdowns are being lifted globally. But it just goes to show, humans, do have an impact on our climate.

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