A new report in the journal Nature Climate Change recommends governments consider imposing pandemic-scaled lockdowns on their populations every two years in order to decrease carbon emissions.
The report noted that the global arrest of economic activity stemming from COVID-19 stay-at-home orders caused carbon emissions to drop dramatically. In order to meet the aggressive goals set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement, the authors suggest similarly designed economic shutdowns may be the only option.
"Carbon emissions fell by about 2.6 billion metric tons in 2020 or roughly a 7% drop from the previous year, a historic decrease," the report states before noting, "further drops in carbon output — 1 to 2 billion metric tons per year — are needed for global emissions to meet the safe worldwide temperature range defined by the Paris Agreement to dodge the effects of climate change."
The report notes that even if such bi-annual lockdowns were enacted, more would still be required. It suggests that "structural changes" like an international abandonment of fossil fuels, coupled with the economic shutdowns, could close the gap.