Though carbon emissions went down during Stay-At-Home orders last year, the pandemic may not have had as much of an effect on air quality in 2020 as we once thought. A professor at IUPUI says as restrictions lifted, carbon emissions went right back up.
IUPUI earth sciences professor Gabriel Filippelli and his team found that, during the lockdown, Indianapolis’s air quality improved by 25 percent compared to the previous five years. They saw similar decreases in the other cities they studied.
But when businesses reopened and people started driving again, Filippelli said the trend reversed. As a result, he said carbon emissions in the U.S. only went down by about 12 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year.
Emissions could climb even more as people get vaccinated and more restrictions are lifted.
“So it wouldn't be surprising if there's no gap at all. That we're back to, in terms of climate, business as usual — which is not a good business to be in," Filippelli said.