China emissions continue dramatic drop as coronavirus closes factories

The coronavirus outbreak has led to sharp declines in China's air pollution levels.

News 12 Staff

Mar 2, 2020, 3:52 PM

Updated 1,544 days ago


China is well-known for having one of the largest carbon footprints of any nation. In fact, it is statistically the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases.
But with the coronavirus forcing many factories to shutter their doors in recent weeks, scientists have seen massive drops in industrial emissions across the country.
Recently, NASA satellites have corroborated this decline. In the image below, the left side shows NO2 emissions from January 1 - 20, while the right side shows the same but from February 10 - 25. According to the EPA, NO2 primarily gets into the air from the burning of fossil fuels, most notably the emissions from motor vehicles and power plants.
(Image credit: NASA)
While this fall was only first apparent near Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus' outbreak, it is now apparent across much of China.
China has seen emission drops before, most recently during the 2008 recession. It also undergoes small temporary declines each Chinese New Year. Yet none have been this staggering, nor have happened so quickly over such a large area.
(Image credit: NASA)
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