London has experienced a 59% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions since the start of coronavirus lockdown.
That’s according to new joint research of the University of Reading and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology that analysed data from long-term monitoring sites in seven European cities.
London’s emissions measurements came from the BT Tower Atmospheric Observatory in central London, which showed there were a 59% reduction in daytime carbon dioxide emissions since the start of the lockdown on 23rd March compared with the long-term average for this time of year.
Measurements of carbon dioxide emission reductions from other European monitoring sites ranged from 8% in a highly vegetated urban area of Berlin to 75% in the city centre of Heraklion, Greece.
Reductions in carbon dioxide emissions in parts of Florence, Basel and Helsinki during the lockdown were around 40%.
Janet Barlow, Professor of Environmental Physics at the University of Reading, and Co-Author of the study, said: “The longer-term impact of the lockdown on emissions is difficult to predict because behaviours might change as lockdown rules are relaxed.
“Some people may prefer to use private cars rather than public transport to avoid the risk of contracting Covid-19, which may cause a fast growth of emissions that may exceed those of the pre-lockdown period.
“On the other hand, the lockdown may kick-start a new enthusiasm for walking and cycling and some cities are now investigating measures to promote alternatives to car use. In addition, regular home working may remain the norm for many people.”