The Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on Global Warming: A Call for Policy Review

Document Type : Policy Review


1 Department of Community Medicine, LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso, Nigeria

2 Department of Community Medicine, University of Osun, Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria



Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is probably the worst epidemic the world has experienced in recent times; it has led to drastic, lifesaving, and extraordinary decisions by governments of nations. Among such extraordinary measures is the closure of international borders leading to the cancellation of air travel by commercial airlines. The carbon emissions from air travel affect global warming. To this end, some authors ranked aircraft as if it were a country and compared the volume of carbon emissions generated by air travel to that generated by countries from other sources. Commercial air travel ranked seventh after Germany in terms of carbon emissions. This policy review, therefore, explored the impact of COVID-19 lockdown and travel restrictions on global warming. As a result of lockdown, there is a likelihood of a significant decrease in carbon emissions and global warming. Assuming the estimated global emissions remain constant annually, an estimated 9 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions would be avoided by the end of 2020 provided that the lockdown continues. To accurately measure the value of reduced carbon dioxide emissions during the global lockdown, it is recommended that scientific studies be conducted to estimate the carbon emissions generated by the few aircraft granted waivers to transport essential commodities during the global lockdown and deduct it from the 9 gigatonnes. After the global lockdown, through a travel policy review, governments and organizations are encouraged to restrict physical meetings or activities that involve air travel only to situations where a physical presence is unavoidable.