Climate Change: Coronavirus

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 1st July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on climate change.

Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

While it is clear that an economic slowdown caused by Covid-19 is likely to have an impact on emissions both domestically and globally, it is too early to know the likely size of the impact and the long-term implications. Domestically, Covid-19 has had a significant short-term effect. For example, BEIS statistics estimate that road fuel sales in the 12 weeks since the 23 March were 48 per cent below the preceding eight weeks, and electricity consumption has also reduced. Renewables have regularly been providing more than 50% of our power and we recently went 67 days without using coal for electricity generation. Internationally, the International Energy Agency estimate global CO2 emissions will fall by around 8% this year, but then rebound with economic recovery.

These reductions are likely to be short-term. The fundamental need for the world to act urgently to decarbonise remains. Global emissions need to fall rapidly year on year in line with the Paris Agreement goal. That is why we set out ambitious plans at the Budget, and will be focusing on continuing to develop our net zero strategy in advance of COP26 – including through strengthening our plans for decarbonisation in key sectors. The Government will also continue to lead work on the international economic recovery, striving to deliver a UK and world economy which is stronger, cleaner, more sustainable and more resilient after this crisis. Through our COP26 and G7 Presidencies, we will work with our international partners to increase climate ambition and address the linked challenges of public health, climate change and biodiversity.

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