Near-real-time monitoring of global CO2 emissions reveals the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

Zhu Liu, Philippe Ciais, Zhu Deng, Ruixue Lei, Steven J. Davis, Sha Feng, Bo Zheng, Duo Cui, Xinyu Dou, Biqing Zhu, Rui Guo, Piyu Ke, Taochun Sun, Chenxi Lu, Pan He, Yuan Wang, Xu Yue, Yilong Wang, Yadong Lei, Hao ZhouZhaonan Cai, Yuhui Wu, Runtao Guo, Tingxuan Han, Jinjun Xue, Olivier Boucher, Eulalie Boucher, Frédéric Chevallier, Katsumasa Tanaka, Yimin Wei, Haiwang Zhong, Chongqing Kang, Ning Zhang, Bin Chen, Fengming Xi, Miaomiao Liu, François Marie Bréon, Yonglong Lu, Qiang Zhang, Dabo Guan, Peng Gong, Daniel M. Kammen, Kebin He, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

504 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting human activities, and in turn energy use and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Here we present daily estimates of country-level CO2 emissions for different sectors based on near-real-time activity data. The key result is an abrupt 8.8% decrease in global CO2 emissions (−1551 Mt CO2) in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. The magnitude of this decrease is larger than during previous economic downturns or World War II. The timing of emissions decreases corresponds to lockdown measures in each country. By July 1st, the pandemic’s effects on global emissions diminished as lockdown restrictions relaxed and some economic activities restarted, especially in China and several European countries, but substantial differences persist between countries, with continuing emission declines in the U.S. where coronavirus cases are still increasing substantially.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5172
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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