A new study has found that draconian coronavirus lockdowns around the world have led to sharp drops in carbon emissions, but this will have a "negligible" impact on the climate crisis, with a reduction in global warming of just 0.01 degrees. Celsius by 2030.
However, the analysis also shows that putting huge sums of post-COVID-19 government funding into an ecological recovery and avoiding fossil fuels would give the world a good chance to keep rising global temperatures below 1.5 ° C.
Scientists said we are now at a watershed moment to stay below the limit, compared to pre-industrial levels, agreed to by world governments to avoid the worst effects of global warming.
The analysis, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, used mobility data from Google and Apple that tracks people's location.
This was used to assess changes in levels of transportation and work in offices and factories, and then emissions of 10 different greenhouse gases and air pollutants.
These estimates were in line with available measurements for some gases, such as nitrogen oxides, pollutants emitted mainly by diesel vehicles.
The team assumed that significant restrictions on activity caused by COVID-19 remained in effect until the end of 2021.
However, using computer modeling, the team showed that this would only produce a small reduction in global warming in the long term.
The data covered 123 countries that together are responsible for 99% of fossil fuel emissions.
The researchers found that global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) fell by more than 25 percent in April 2020 and those of nitrogen oxides by 30 percent.
These drops show that rapid changes in people's behavior can make big differences in emissions in the short term, but scientists said such locks are impossible to maintain.