A recent analysis has found that the coronavirus lockdowns have caused a significant drop in global carbon emissions. Based on the study, daily carbon emissions around the world have plunged by 17% since governments implemented lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United States, for instance, has been able to cut its carbon dioxide levels by about a third. India and Europe have also cut their emissions by 26% and 27%, respectively. China also reduced its carbon pollution by nearly a quarter in February, when strict lockdown was implemented in the ground zero of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these findings, international scientists believe that the drop in carbon emissions is unlikely to last, as the brief pollution break is just “a drop in the ocean” when it comes to climate change. According to Professor Corinne Le Quere of the University of East Anglia in the U.K., the thing that will determine the global carbon emissions in the future is how world leaders will include climate change in their economic planning after the pandemic.

“Population confinement has led to drastic changes in energy use and CO2 emissions,” she said. “These extreme decreases are likely to be temporary though, as they do not reflect structural changes in the economic, transport, or energy systems. The extent to which world leaders consider climate change when planning their economic responses post-COVID-19 will influence the global CO2 emissions paths for decades to come,” she added.

Rob Jackson, a researcher from Stanford University and co-author of the study, also said that while the drop in emissions was substantial, it illustrated the need for systematic change through the use of green energy and electric cars, not just temporary reductions from enforced behavior.

The study, which was published in the British journal “Nature Climate Change,” was the first to tackle the pandemic-driven drop in global carbon emissions from January to April 2020. Experts praised the analysis and described it as the most comprehensive yet, saying it shows how much effort is required to curb the effects of global warming.

“That underscores a simple truth: Individual behavior alone… won’t get us there,” said Michael Mann, a scientist from the Pennsylvania State University. “We need fundamental structural change,” he added.

COVID-19 Coronavirus is spreading worldwide and countries are doing their best to flatten the curve. Photo by: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay