Could 2021 be the year when the world emerges from one global crisis and starts making significant progress against another one?
The conditions of the past year, including widespread stay-at-home orders that contributed to a reduction in road transport activity and lower fossil fuel consumption, triggered the largest drop in global energy-related CO2 emissions since WWII – estimated at 11% in the U.S. alone and around 6% globally. However, as our COVID-fatigued communities began to emerge from virus-related restrictions, emissions have rebounded strongly.
In the meantime, the damaging impact of climate change remains an enduring challenge that won’t be erased by efforts that take place in a single year. It’s also one where simple, isolated solutions will not be enough to effectively address the full complement of contributing factors. As such, it will take consistent and unified intervention on multiple, global fronts to maintain the small gains experienced in 2020 and scale them significantly enough to preserve the livability of our planet.