In the initial aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008, global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production decreased by 1.4 percent, only to rise by 5.9 percent in 2010. And the crisis this time could have a longer-term impact on the environment — at far greater cost to human health, security, and life — if it derails global efforts to address climate change.
This was supposed to be a “a pivotal year” for those efforts to address climate change, as UN Secretary General António Guterres put it at a recent briefing on the UN’s annual climate summit, which was scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November.
Ahead of the summit, 196 countries were expected to introduce revamped plans to meet the emission reduction goals established under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Yet on April 1, in the face of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, the UN announced that it was postponing the summit until sometime next year.