Covid-19 and Climate

Have Covid-19 restrictions been good or bad news for the climate?

Profile picture of John Lang

By John Lang


COVID-19 enforced restrictions will dent global CO2 emissions in 2020 compared with 2019. But this decline will not, by itself, put a dent in climate change. To help explain why, we're introducing a new climate character: the name's 'Brick'.

This infographic was created by ECIU's John Lang. If you would like to use it, or any of its contents, please send him an email — it can be provided in various formats.

John would like to thank climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe for unwittingly introducing him to Brick, and for kindly offering feedback on an early version. Any errors are his and his alone.

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A library of ECIU infographics can be found here.

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- European Commission, 'Supporting climate action through the EU budget', 2020

- Global Carbon Project, Global Carbon Budget 2019

- Hepburn et al, Will COVID-19 fiscal recovery packages accelerate or retard progress on climate change?, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 2020

- IEA, 'Batteries and hydrogen technology: keys for a clean energy future', 2020

- IEA, Sustainable Recovery: World Energy Outlook Special Report, 2020

- IMF, World Economic Outlook: The Great Lockdown, 2020

- IPCC, Special Report on 1.5°C, 2018

- Le Quéré et al, Temporary reduction in daily global CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement, Nature Climate Change, 2020

- Liebreich, 'Energy Efficiency Key To Covid Recovery', BloombergNEF, 2020

- Our World in Data, CO₂ and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 2020

- Sherwood et al, An assessment of Earth's climate sensitivity using multiple lines of evidence, Reviews of Geophysics, 2020