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    Was the 2020 “COVID emissions dip” a myth?

     

    June 18, 2021

    The short answer is no – but that statement is immediately followed by an important but.

    As a result of worldwide COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions did indeed fall by between 4.2% and 7.5%, depending on how you measure them. Unfortunately, this decrease wasn’t the pandemic’s secret silver lining, as some have wanted to make of it.
    As the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) told The Guardian, “this was a ‘tiny blip’ in the continuous buildup of greenhouse gases in the air caused by human activities, and less than the natural variation seen year to year.”
    One analogy for the COVID emissions dip was that the bath was still filling with water but that the flow had slightly reduced. Nevertheless, the bath was still filling up at a rate that would cause a serious problem unless addressead.
    As discouraging as this news might be to people looking for some good climate news, the WMO’s State of the Global Climate report is even more sobering. The WMO uses seven climate indicators to give a broad view of the global climate, and the level of GHG emissions is only one of them. The others are temperature, ocean heat, sea level, glacial mass, sea ice, and ocean acidification.

    Increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activities are a major driver of climate change”

    - WMO

    However, the level of GHG emissions has a special role to play, as the leading cause of changes in the other six indicators. “Increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activities are a major driver of climate change,” the WMO states bluntly.

     

    Most of the “COVID emissions dip” can be attributed to the temporary decrease in automobile traffic on the one hand and the temporary slowdown in industrial activities on the other. Emphasis on “temporary”: because as soon as pandemic restrictions are lifted, GHG emissions rebound. As The New York Times reported in June 2020, climate experts say that “the trajectory of global emissions in the years ahead is likely to be heavily influenced by the stimulus measures that countries enact as they seek to revive their economies.” Clearly, there is much work to be done in order to cut global emissions permanently.

    COVID emissions dip
    One way to help do that is to reconceive the built environment with the goal of achieving sustainability. Internet of Things (IoT) technology is increasingly giving us the tools to do just that. The IoT is laying the foundation for an entirely new conception of how to build, operate, and maintain urban centers and the structures that comprise them. With the European Green Deal and similar climate-neutral programs in other parts of the world, the year 2021 may well be the year that smart city and smart building approaches become the rule rather than the exception.
    For more details, read this article on some smart approaches that can help end the emissions crisis, using Interact, Signify’s connected lighting software and systems for the IoT.

    About the author:

    Jonathan Weinert

    Jonathan Weinert


    IoT thought leadership, Signify

    For further information, please contact:


    For editorial enquiries:

    Signify Global Integrated Communications
    Neil Pattie
    Tel: + 31 6 15 08 48 17
    Email: neil.pattie@signify.com

    For commercial enquiries:

    Flipping the Green Switch on the European Green Deal

     

    The European Green Deal is the world’s most comprehensive climate action initiative, with ambitious goals to achieve a carbon-neutral continent by 2050 and to reconcile the way we consume resources. Our Green Switch program allows you to take action without delay. LED and connected lighting offer a simple way for you to contribute towards the Green Deal’s goals to cut emissions, create jobs, and boost innovation.

     

    Learn more about Green Switch

    At Signify, we are taking a leading role to bring better light to the world and to help provide a more sustainable future. We do this by delivering light which is energy efficient, saves resources, and improves lives. At Signify, we also ‘walk the talk’ and commit to becoming carbon neutral by 2020. We are driving our zero waste to landfill program, striving for a zero injury workplace, and are engaging suppliers for a sustainable supply chain.
    At Signify, we are taking a leading role to bring better light to the world and to help provide a more sustainable future. We do this by delivering light which is energy efficient, saves resources, and improves lives. At Signify, we also ‘walk the talk’ and commit to becoming carbon neutral by 2020. We are driving our zero waste to landfill program, striving for a zero injury workplace, and are engaging suppliers for a sustainable supply chain.

    About Signify

     

    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals and consumers and lighting for the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact connected lighting systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. With 2020 sales of EUR 6.5 billion, we have approximately 39,000 employees and are present in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We achieved carbon neutrality in 2020, have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for four consecutive years and were named Industry Leader in 2017, 2018 and 2019. News from Signify is located at the Newsroom, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors can be found on the Investor Relations page.

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