Eco Experts has published new analysis that has collated figures around the decrease of UK pollution due to government-mandated social distancing measures to control Coronavirus.
The analysis focuses on the pollution output decrease in five main areas: public transport, road vehicles, air travel, energy usage, and the effect on London, the UK’s most polluted city.
The drop in CO2e tonnes in each area is:
Public transport – 1.89 million tonnes less, due to journeys falling to just 11.77% of normal levels.
Road vehicles – 15.18 million tonnes less, according to a 52.56% drop in road usage.
Air travel – 6.94 million tonnes less, due to flights falling by 69%.
Energy usage – 6.44 million tonnes less. Though home energy consumption rose by up to 30%, overall demand has fallen 15% due to the save in business usage.
London pollution – 1.17 million tonnes of CO2e, due to the 12-week 97.2% population decrease in the capital.
The main message from our data is that driving is the biggest emissions culprit. UK traffic didn’t fall as far as it could have, maintaining 53% of its usual level – and yet, that decline alone saved 15 million tonnes of CO2e.
Josh Jackman, Eco Experts writer and analyst, said: “We’re very happy with how close our initial prediction was. We said the COVID-19 lockdown would reduce CO2e emissions by 28.22 million metric tonnes, and it’s declined by 30.45.
“This is an astounding figure, more than London emits over a whole year. It shows we have the power to reduce harmful pollution, improve our air quality, and fight climate change – if we decide to. Any claim to the contrary can be thrown out the window now.
“The main message from our data is that driving is the biggest emissions culprit. UK traffic didn’t fall as far as it could have, maintaining 53% of its usual level – and yet, that decline alone saved 15 million tonnes of CO2e.
“Public transport travel fell by 88 percentage points. Air travel dropped by 69. But the combined 8.8 million tonnes of CO2e wiped out by these modes of travel doesn’t get close to road vehicles’ savings.
“Hopefully we’ll learn from these results and take action. It shouldn’t require a global pandemic for us to effectively combat climate change.”